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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Sedimentary Geology
Volume (Issue) 362
Page(s) 37 - 52
Title of proceedings Sedimentary Geology
DOI 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2017.10.002

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Meteoric diagenesis of carbonate ramps is often difficult to interpret and can commonly be confused with other coinciding diagenetic processes. The Middle Triassic Upper Muschelkalk of Switzerland provides an insightful case in which the effects of several overprinting diagenetic environments, including matrix dolomitization, can be clearly unravelled. Previous studies suggested that diagenesis took place in connate marine waters, with later meteoric waters being invoked to explain recrystallization of dolomite. In this study, diagenetic analyses (C–O stable isotope ratios, thin-section point counting, cathodoluminescence and UV-fluorescence microscopy) of calcitic bioclastic samples have revealed that early diagenesis (pre-stylolitization) and the accompanying po- rosity evolution did not occur exclusively in the presence of marine fluids. Five sequential stages of diagenesis have been identified: marine, shallow burial, mixing-zone, meteoric and dolomitization. Marine diagenesis in- duced precipitation of bladed and inclusion-rich syntaxial cements that fluoresce strongly under UV-light. Both cements account for a mean 7.5 vol% reduction in the porosity of bioclastic beds. Shallow burial diagenesis likely induced mouldic porosity and associated fluorescent dog-tooth cementation. Based on light oxygen isotope and elevated strontium isotope ratios, matrix aragonite–calcite neomorphism is interpreted to have occurred in a mixture of marine and meteoric fluids. The combination of shallow burial and mixing-zone processes reduced porosity on average by 4.8 vol%. Evidence for subsequent meteoric diagenesis is found in abundant dog-tooth and blocky calcite cements that have mean δ18OVPDB of −9.36‰ and no signs of recrystallization. These meteoric cements reduced porosity by a further 13.4 vol%. Percolation of meteoric water through the ramp was driven by hydraulic gradients on an adjacent basement high, which was exposed by a cycle of early Ladinian regressions. Following meteoric diagenesis the Upper Muschelkalk was dolomitized by refluxing brines. This complex history of diagenesis resulted in moderate porosities in dolomitized rocks (up to 20%), and low porosities (b5%) in calcitic bioclastic beds. These results are used to show that the present-day reservoir properties of non- dolomitized carbonate rocks, particularly bioclastic beds, can be largely attributed to early diagenetic processes. Thus, knowledge of the early diagenetic history and its regional controls provides a means to predict reservoir properties over wide areas between and beyond well sites.