Abstract

In late Paleozoic solitary Rugosa, the zigzag microstructure as defined by Schindewolf (1942) is related to presence of an elevated magnesium content within biogenic calcite (intermediate magnesian calcite, IMC) and its subsequent loss during diagenesis by microdissolution and neomorphism. This particular microstructure has been recognized with certainty only in some Carboniferous and Permian rugose corals (e.g., Lophophyllidium spp.). Septal and other skeletal microstructures in those corals are dominantly (oblique) sloping- lamellar, which is also interpreted as diagenetic in origin. Two directions of oblique lamellae commonly occur in thickened skeletal elements, forming chevrons that make up zigzag microstructure with its orientation determined by presence of microdolomite blebs within skeletal calcite. Geochemical studies of corals from the Mississippian Imo Formation of Arkansas, the Pennsylvanian Buckhorn asphalt of Oklahoma and Pennsylvanian Kendrick Shale of Kentucky all indicate that magnesium content in skeletal calcite of the corals was elevated, with a maximum in the neighborhood of six to eight mole percent CaCO3, thereby forming intermediate magnesium calcite. Corals with this zigzag microstructure apparently only occurred during the late Paleozoic interval of “aragonite seas”; as a result, this diagenetic behavior of rugose corals can serve as a proxy for secular change in marine chemistry and/or climate.

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