CENTRO DE TECNOLOGIA DE RECURSOS MINERALES Y CERAMICA
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
COMPOSITION AND DIAGENETIC PROCESSES OF SANDSTONE AND TUFF DEPOSITS OF THE CENOMANIAN CARDIEL FORMATION, CARDIEL LAKE AREA, PROVINCE OF SANTA CRUZ.
RENATO R. ANDREIS, PATRICIA E. ZALBA AND MARTÍN E. MOROSI
Revista de la Asociacion Geologica Argentina
Asociacion Geologica Argentina
Lugar: Buenos Aires; Año: 2007 vol. 62 p. 257 - 266
The Cardiel Formation (Cenomanian), around 200 m in thickness in the studied area, includes different types of volcaniclastic deposits, mainly represented by fine tuffs and massive bentonites, and subordinated epiclastics such as lithic sandstones of yellowish-brown, dusky yellow, or light olive hues, siltstones and claystones. Reddened paleosols with some small axial roots and weak prismatic structures appear on top of siltstones, tuffs and bentonites. Tufites and tuffs contain the same neovolcanic components, abundant glass shards and minor pumices. Different types of glass shards can be differentiated whitin this unit, whereas pumice fragments are represented by different vesicular varieties. Vitreous tuffaceous clasts are abundant in the tufites. Almost all samples contain not only diagenetically-derived, but also pedogenetically-infiltrated montmorillonite, as well as zeolites. Predominant Ca-Na-K clinoptilolite (Si/Al>4) and minor analcime (Si/Al near 3) were identified. Smectite and clinoptilolite may either replace glass-shards or pumices, or fill pore spaces, whereas smectite also appears as thin cutans. The sequence of diagenetic processes includes the conversion (hydrolysis) of glass to smectite, and later to zeolites. Furthermore, zeolites preceded calcite growth (sometimes replacing glass-shards or pumices), which in turn, formed prior to pervading ferric oxides-hydroxides. The vertical distribution of zeolites can be explained taking into account the presence of percolating waters in an open hydrologic system. The zeolite content throughout the whole profile links the mineralogical association observed within the sediments of the Cardiel Formation to the clinoptilolite zone. Paleoenvironmental reconstructions for the Cardiel Formation point out to tidal currents taking place in wide lagoons; tuffaceous and bentonitic deposits covered those ancient lagoons forming wide, flat plains on which paleosols developed. Paleocurrents measured on sandstone beds indicate main sediment transport directions towards the north, northeast, and less frequently to the southwest. The abundance of glass shards thorough this unit indicates a magmatic origin related to the volcanoes situated along the Andean Mountains possibly associated with alternating plinian and subplinian eruptions with brief phreato-plinian processes.