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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 67 (1983)

Issue: 9. (September)

First Page: 1466

Last Page: 1466

Title: Diagenetic Changes to Microfossils: Experimental Study: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Mervin Kontrovitz, Rene A. De Hon

Article Type: Meeting abstract


An understanding of taphonomic processes including diagenesis would enhance the usefulness of fossils such as the Foraminifera. In this study, shells of five modern species of calcareous Foraminifera were subjected to temperatures and pressures (T-P) that simulated burial. One kilometer (0.6 mi) increments were used with a maximum simulated depth of 10 km (6 mi) in wet sediment.

An increased alteration of shells occurred at each higher T-P in each sediment type (quartz, illite, or calcite). Shells in quartz were more altered than those treated in either illite or calcite. Compared to untreated shells, pores in quartz at 5 km (3 mi) were enlarged by 15%, and tiny hillocks were visible at high magnification (2,000 X). At 6 km (3.7 mi), high sharp pinnacles were formed and pores were enlarged 30 to 50%. At 7 km (4.3 mi), long narrow solution channels developed while pores were increased by 40 to 60% in diameter. The next T-P increment (8 km, 5 mi) caused even greater pore solution, whereas at 9 km (5.6 mi) sutures were obliterated and the previously formed pinnacles were removed. At the highest T-P (10 km, 6 mi), chambers and shell outlines were highly altered a d newly formed crystals appeared. There were platelets oriented perpendicular to the shell surface; often they were arranged as rosettes.

Under experimental conditions, alteration features of Foraminifera shells appear diagnostic of certain T-P levels. If such features develop on shells in natural sediments they may be useful to reconstruct some conditions of diagenesis.

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