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The magnesium and calcium contents of sediments, especially pelites, as a function of age and degree of metamorphism
The silicate and carbonate fraction of 98 non-metamorphic shale samples from the Australian platform and of different geological age were analysed for calcium, magnesium, ferrous iron and carbonate. Cainozoic and Mesozoic shales prove to be essentially calcitic, Cambrian and Proterozoic shales are essentially dolomitic and sideritic. A similar trend of high MgO values can be demonstrated for the silicate fraction of the old shales. Extensive literature study confirms these trends for shales and carbonate rocks from all over the world. Slates, hornfelses and schists are Mg rich and Ca poor, whether young or old.
Ronov's model of the evolution of the earth's crust ocean and atmosphere, explaining these trends, is critically reviewed but rejected because of impossible storage problems of calcium in the Proterozoic. The increased magnesium content of the old sediments is explained by calcium carbonate sweating out of the sedimentary column, magnesium introduction from altering volcanic rocks within the sedimentary pile and magnesium introduction from connate brines in sandstones. The increasing calcium content of all kinds of sediments with decreasing age is claimed to be related to preferential weathering of extrusive volcanic rocks and sweating out of calcium carbonate from the sedimentary column.
Publication titleChemical Geology
Department/SchoolSchool of Natural Sciences
PublisherElsevier Science Bv
Place of publicationPo Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae
Rights statement© Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company, Amsterdam