Abstract

This paper is based on a multidisciplinary field and laboratory study of carbonate concretions developed in poorly lithified Quaternary, syn-kinematic sediments along the Quattro Castella Anticline, Northern Apennines, Italy. The studied concretions consist of both tabular (parallel to bedding) and elongate single to coalescent concretionary bodies oriented at different angles to the bedding throughout the exposed stratigraphic succession. The dimensions of the concretions range from a few centimetres for single elongate concretions up to several metres for tabular to coalescent concretions. Field observations and petrophysical data indicate that the concretions developed preferentially in sediments characterized by mean grain sizes of 90–290 μm and a permeability ranging from 7 × 102 to 7 × 104 mD. Carbon and oxygen stable isotope analyses in conjunction with the petrographic investigations indicate that the precipitation of concretionary calcite occurred in a meteoric vadose realm during early eogenesis and subsequently in a meteoric phreatic environment. Diagenetic data and concretion patterns in syn-tectonic sediments suggest they formed during the lateral propagation of the anticline, which, in turn, promoted a change in the local topographic–hydraulic gradient from fold axial parallel to fold orthogonal. The integrated analysis of carbonate concretions provides a useful tool with which to unravel the palaeo-fluid flow history and therefore to predict fluid circulation patterns in folded siliciclastic rocks.

Supplementary material: Complete isotopic data from both hand samples and thin sections, together with statistical analysis, scanning electron microscope cement images and grain size distributions with the standard operative procedure tests performed, and detailed permeability measurements are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4087019

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