Fissure ridge travertines grown from geothermal springs of Denizli Basin, southwestern Turkey, are investigated through stratigraphic, structural, geochemical, and geochronological methods, with the aim of understanding the growth of these elongate mound-shaped structures. Two main types of travertine deposits are recognized: (1) bedded travertines, which grew as flowstone on sloping surfaces and form the bulk of fissure ridges, and (2) banded travertines, which grew as veins within the bedded travertine chiefly along its central feeding conduit. Stratigraphic and structural observations shed light on the bedded-banded travertine relationships, where the banded features grew through successive accretion phases, crosscutting the bedded travertine or forming sill-like structures. The bedded and banded travertines alternated their growth, as demonstrated by complicated crosscutting relationships and by the upward suture, in places, of banded travertine by bedded travertine that was, in turn, crosscut by younger banded travertine. The bedded travertine is often tilted away from the central axis of the fissure ridge, thus leaving more room for the central banded travertine to form. U-series ages confirm the bedded-banded travertine temporal relationships and show that the growth of the studied fissure ridges lasted up to several tens of thousands of years during Quaternary time. The banded travertine was deposited mainly during cold events, possibly in coincidence with seismic events that might have triggered the outflow of deep geothermal fluids. C and O stable isotope and rare earth element data indicate a shallow feeding circuit for the studied structures with a fluid component deriving from a deeper geothermal circuit. A crack-and-seal mechanism of fissure ridge growth is proposed, modulated by the interplay of local and regional influencing factors and mechanisms such as geothermal fluid discharge, paleoclimate, tectonics, and the progressive tilting of bedded travertine limbs over a soft substratum creating the necessary space for the central veins to grow.

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