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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Journal of Sedimentary Research (SEPM)


Journal of Sedimentary Petrology
Vol. 56 (1986)No. 5. (September), Pages 614-621

Evaporite Carbonate Cycles of the Messinian, Sicily: Stable Isotopes, Mineralogy, Textural Features, and Environmental Implications

A. Bellanca, R. Neri


An investigation of the genetic environment of laminar and massive gypsum and intercalated carbonates (Messinian, central Sicily) has been carried out by means of isotopic, textural, and mineralogical analyses.

The oxygen and hydrogen isotope compositions of crystal water from the laminar gypsum indicate primary precipitation of the sulfate from marine waters concentrated by evaporation. The isotopic data also show compositional changes due to periodic influx of continental waters into the deposition basin. In the laminar gypsum and interlayered dolostones we find a micritic, near-to or stoichiometric dolomite showing very positive ^dgr18O and negative ^dgr13C values which are consistent with formation of this carbonate, at a very early diagenetic stage, by precipitation from highly evaporated interstitial waters depleted in SO4-- ions by gypsum cr stallization and concurrent bacterial SO4-- reduction.

Open-marine-water incursions probably led to the deposition of carbonate layers overlying the laminar gypsum. These contain abundant aragonite whose textural features and isotopic composition suggest precipitation in shallow and quiet marine waters slightly enriched in 18O by evaporation. The isotopic data of a euhedral and Ca-rich dolomite, formed later than the aragonite, may reflect further influxes of continental waters into the basin.

On the basis of ^dgr18O and ^dgrD values, the massive gypsum in the upper portion of the sedimentary sequence seems to have been formed by hydration of anhydrite.

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