Abstract

Miocene calcite concretions resembling modern carbonate structures that form at cold seeps are present in fractured opal- CT porcelanites that are interbedded with mudstones in coastal cliffs at Santa Cruz, California. The morphologies of the carbonate structures differ markedly from conventional concretions and are spatially aligned with orthogonal joints in the porcelanites. The structures contain tubular holes that are identical to fluid and gas conduits in modern carbonate seep structures; the orientations of these tubes suggest that fluid and gas flow was both vertical and horizontal, the latter along extensional joints that formed preferentially in the brittle, silica-rich layers that had enhanced bedding- parallel permeability. Petrographic and isotopic characteristics of the carbonate structures indicate that calcite precipitation occurred in a shallow, subseafloor environment in either the zone of microbial sulfate reduction or of methanogenesis, prior to or possibly simultaneously with the silica phase transformation of opal- A in diatom shells to opal-CT.

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