Groundwater table fluctuations recorded in zonation of microbial siderites from end-Triassic strata
In a terrestrial Triassic–Jurassic boundary succession of southern Sweden, perfectly zoned sphaerosiderites are restricted to a specific sandy interval deposited during the end-Triassic event. Underlying and overlying this sand interval there are several other types of siderite micromorphologies, i.e. poorly zoned sphaerosiderite, spheroidal (ellipsoid) siderite, spherical siderite and rhombohedral siderite. Siderite overgrowths occur mainly as rhombohedral crystals on perfectly zoned sphaerosiderite and as radiating fibrous crystals on spheroidal siderite. Concretionary sparry, microspar and/or micritic siderite cement postdate all of these micromorphologies. The carbon isotope composition of the siderite measured by conventional mass spectrometry shows the characteristic broad span of data, probably as a result of multiple stages of microbial activity. SIMS (secondary ion mass spectrometry) revealed generally higher δ13C values for the concretionary cement than the perfectly zoned sphaerosiderite, spheroidal siderite and their overgrowths, which marks a change in the carbon source during burial. All the various siderite morphologies have almost identical oxygen isotope values reflecting the palaeo-groundwater composition. A pedogenic/freshwater origin is supported by the trace element compositions of varying Fe:Mn ratios and low Mg contents. Fluctuating groundwater is the most likely explanation for uniform repeated siderite zones of varying Fe:Mn ratios reflecting alternating physiochemical conditions and hostility to microbial life/activity. Bacterially mediated siderite precipitation likely incorporated Mn and other metal ions during conditions that are not favourable for the bacteria and continued with Fe-rich siderite precipitation as the physico-chemical conditions changed into optimal conditions again, reflecting the response to groundwater fluctuations.
- Groundwater fluctuations
- Microbial activity
- Oxygen and carbon isotopic composition
- Siderite concretions
- Spheroidal siderite
- ISSN: 0037-0738