Abstract

Characterization of Brazilian agates containing a lower horizontally banded section and an upper chamber with bands parallel to the walls shows that these agates formed much later than the 135 Ma Paraná basalt host rock. Age differentiation between the two types of banding shows that the horizontal bands formed between 43 to 63 Ma ago with a final infill of wall-lining bands between 7 and 27 Ma later. The horizontal bands have a higher Al3+ concentration and a greater crystallite size than the wall-lining layers; they have a lower mogánite content and defect-site water content. The formation of these agates appears to be the result of a three-stage process. After the separate formation of horizontally banded and wall-lining agate, a silica infill seals the gap between the agate and the cavity wall. The detection of cristobalite in some specimens indicates that genesis of both the horizontally banded and wall-lining deposits in the Brazilian samples proceeds along an amorphous silica → opal-CT → opal-C → chalcedony pathway.

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