Abstract

The Úrkút (Hungary) manganese (Mn) ore, hosted by Jurassic black shale, was studied using high-resolution mineralogical, microtextural, and chemical methods. Two independent superimposed biostructures were identified consisting of rhythmic laminations that provide important proxies for paleoenvironments and duration of ore formation. Millimeter-scale laminae reflect a depositional series of Fe-rich biomats, mineralized microbially produced sedimentary structures. These biomats formed at the sediment-water interface under dysoxic and neutral pH conditions by enzymatic Fe2+ oxidizing processes that may have developed on a daily to weekly growth cycle. The early diagenetic sedimentary ore is composed of Ca rhodochrosite, celadonite, and smectite, and also shows a 100-μm-scale element oscillation that produces Mn(Ca)-rich and Si(Fe clay)-rich microlaminae. This microlamination may reflect a 10 h to daily rhythmicity produced by the growth of microbial communities. If true, then the giant Úrkút ore deposit may have formed over hundreds of years, rather than hundreds of thousands of years as previously thought.

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