Diffusion controlled formation of spherical carbonate concretion in muddy sedimentary matrices

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<p>Spherical carbonate concretions are commonly observed in marine clayey sedimentary strata and often contain well preserved fossils. Previous studies revealed that the spherical concretions are formed by the very rapid reaction with decomposed organic matter from inside and Ca2+ ion of seawater. However, the detailed mass transport process during concretion formation has not been completely understood. Here two different size of spherical concretions, cm size of tusk-shell concretions and metre size of Moeraki boulders, are re-examined to understand the diffusion oriented formation process. Field observations, and detailed mineralogical (XRD) and geochemical analyses (SXAM, XRF, δ13C) revealed diffusive transport of HCO3 from decaying organic matter and Ca2+ from surrounding pore-water of marine origin led to solid carbonate precipitation reactions that progressed from the margin of a concretion. Based on the compositional gradients across the concretions, a diffusion based diagram has been applied to estimate the growth rates of the different size of spherical concretions. The process and rate estimation indicate that even gigantic spherical concretions can form quite rapidly in the muddy matrices under a diffusion-controlled transport regime.</p>


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