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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 945

Last Page: 945

Title: Controls on Diatomaceous Lithofacies in Obliquely Rifted Marginal Basin: Gulf of California: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Kerry Kelts, G. Einsele, J. Curray

Article Type: Meeting abstract


DSDP Leg 64 dissected Quaternary sedimentation patterns in the Guaymas Basin which confirm many similarities but underline some differences with other Neogene circum-Pacific diatomite basins. Tectonic setting in this morphologically complex basin includes broad hemipelagic slopes, fault-controlled outer slope basins and highs, and relatively small transform-bounded, obliquely rifted deeper basins with complex ocean crust. Frequent mass flows are triggered from either muddy delta foreslopes or hemipelagic diatom ooze drape. These accumulate as mud turbidites in the narrow rift zones at rates exceeding 2,000 m/m.y. Interaction of climatic and oceanographic parameters control the intensity of biogenic productivity (ergo, the oxygen budget) producing alternating sequences of aminated and homogenous diatomaceous ooze, generally confined to slope regions (400 m/m.y.). Laminated diatom-ooze also accumulated in deeper basins which were deprived of turbidity flows during limited periods.

Sediments in slope areas contain a uniform 4% carbon but CaCO3 (mostly foraminifera) ranges episodically from 2 to 25%. Phosphate occurs as fish-debris-rich laminae or rare, soft, centimeter-size pellets. Diagenetic dissolution of silica is recorded at Site 479 on the slope where finely laminated hard muds occurring below an unconformity at 380 m subbottom are now devoid of frustules, except those cemented in dolomite beds. Paradoxically, porcellanites were not encountered, although traces of clinoptilolite suggest that some silica reactions are presently active. Chert only occurs in proximity to basaltic intrusions. Dolomite precipitation occurs at shallow subbottom depths in zones of high alkalinity and methanogenesis, gradually forming decimeter-thick hard layers by slow vertical accretion. These layers commonly preserve primary fabrics. Petrologic and heavy carbon isotope evidence suggest that ions for dolomite precipitation are mainly derived from interstitial waters.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists