Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The Marl Slate, the English equivalent of the Kupferschiefer, has been studied with particular reference to the relationships between dolomitization and the origin of the metal sulphides. Dolomite occurs as: 1) discontinuous lenses of ferroan dolomicrite, 2) micronodules of finely crystalline dolospar in association with length-slow chalcedony and 3) discrete laminae of ferroan or non-ferroan dolospar. The ferroan dolomicrite has excess CaCO3, and is more abundant in the lower, sapropelic facies of the Marl Slate. It is considered to have formed by the penecontemporaneous alteration of calcium carbonate under hypersaline conditions. Small micronodules (typically about 0.3 mm in diameter) are also more abundant in the sapropelic Marl Slate. These frequently contain cores of length-slow chalcedony (quartzine) fibres and sometimes quartz megacrysts. Textural observations clearly indicate that this silica is of authigenic origin and the dolomite/chalcedony micronodules are interpreted as diagenetic replacements of a calcium sulphate mineral such as anhydrite. The discrete laminae of finely crystalline dolospar are often inter-laminated with calcite in the upper part of the Marl Slate. This dolomite is also calcium rich and represents a replacement, possibly of anhydrite, during a later phase of diagenesis. Metal sulphides occur in two distinct forms: as disseminated framboidal pyrite and as discrete lenses of pyrite, chalcopyrite, galena, sphalerite and rarer sulphides. The framboidal pyrite originated during early diagenesis by reaction of sulphide, produced by reduction of sulphate by organic material and micro-organisms, with iron also released in the reducing environment. The sulphide lenses are often in intimate association with dolospar, length-slow chalcedony and authigenic quartz megacrysts. This indicates that the lenses were produced during diagenesis by the reduction and replacement of calcium sulphate (anhydrite). Various sources, such as co-precipitation with dolomite precursors and the underlying Yellow Sands, may have supplied metals which were mobilized and transported by connate brines as diagenesis progressed.
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