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The rate and mechanism of deep-sea glauconite formation at the Ivory Coast-Ghana marginal ridge

Andre Baldermann, Laurence N. Warr, Georg H. Grathoff and Martin Dietzel
The rate and mechanism of deep-sea glauconite formation at the Ivory Coast-Ghana marginal ridge
Clays and Clay Minerals (July 2013) 61 (3): 258-276


The environmental conditions and reaction paths of shallow-water glauconititization (<500 m water depth, approximately 15 degrees C) close to the sediment-seawater interface are generally considered to be well understood. In contrast, the key factors controlling deep-sea glauconite formation are still poorly constrained. In the present study, green grains formed in the recent deep-sea environment of the ODP Site 959, Ivory Coast-Ghana Marginal Ridge, ( approximately 2100 m water depth, 3-6 degrees C) were investigated by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopic methods in order to determine the rate and mechanism of glauconitization. Green clay authigenesis at Hole 959C occurred mainly in the tests of calcareous foraminifera which provided post-depositional conditions ideal for glauconitization. Within this organic-rich micro-environment, Fe-smectite developed <10 ky after deposition of the sediments by precipitation from precursor gels containing Fe, Mg, Al, and silica. This gel formation was supported by microbial activity and cation supply from the interstitial solution by diffusion. At a later stage of early marine diagenesis (900 ky), the Fe-smectites reacted to form mixed-layer glauconite-smectite. Further down ( approximately 2500 ky), almost pure glauconite with no compositional gaps between the Fe-smectite and glauconite end members formed. This burial-related Fe-smectite-to-glauconite reaction indicates that the glauconitization process was controlled mainly by the chemistry of the interstitial solutions. The composition of the interstitial solution depends heavily on micro-environmental changes related to early diagenetic oxidation of biodegradable (marine) organic matter, microbial sulfate reduction, silicate mineral alteration, carbonate dissolution, and Fe redox reactions. The availability of Fe is suggested as the probable limiting factor for glauconitization, explaining the various states of green-grain maturity within the samples, and this cation may be the most important rate-determining element. The rate of glauconite formation at ODP Site 959 is given by %Gl (sub Sed) = 22.6.log(age (sub Sed) ) + 1.6 (R (super 2) = 0.97) where %Gl (sub Sed) is the state of glauconitization in the sediment and age (sub Sed) is the sediment age (in ky). This glauconitization rate depends mainly on continuous cation supply (in particular Fe) and is about five times less than that in shallow-shelf regions, suggesting significantly slower reaction at the lower temperature of deep-sea environments.

ISSN: 0009-8604
EISSN: 1552-8367
Serial Title: Clays and Clay Minerals
Serial Volume: 61
Serial Issue: 3
Title: The rate and mechanism of deep-sea glauconite formation at the Ivory Coast-Ghana marginal ridge
Affiliation: Graz University of Technology, Institute of Applied Geosciences, Graz, Austria
Pages: 258-276
Published: 201307
Text Language: English
Publisher: Clay Minerals Society, Chantilly, VA, United States
References: 39
Accession Number: 2013-067945
Categories: Sedimentary petrologyGeochemistry of rocks, soils, and sediments
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 1 table, sketch map
N03°37'40" - N03°37'40", W02°44'08" - W02°44'08"
Secondary Affiliation: Greifswald University, DEU, Germany
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Clay Minerals Society. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201340
Program Name: ODPOcean Drilling Program
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