Silicification of calcrete in palaeodrainage Basins of the Australian arid zone

A. V. Arakel, G. Jacobson, M. Salehi, C. M. Hill

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    50 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Quaternary calcrete deposits in palaeodrainage basins of the arid zone of Western and central Australia have developed near the surface within a remarkably short span of time. Silicification of the calcrete, involving the filling of voids and replacement of calcite by opaline and quartzose silica, has taken place in both the vadose and phreatic hydrological zones as a late diagenetic event. Diagenetic changes in the textures of silicified calcrete commonly correspond with silica-phase transformation and reflect replacement of carbonate through dissolution and reprecipitation. Silicified calcrete horizons in ancient terrestrial (lacustrine and groundwater) carbonate deposits may be related to the migration history of the silica in palaeohydrological systems. The presence of silica as thin grain coatings, veins and pore and cavity lining'˜; is a manifestation of the intricate balance between the solution of host calcrete and precipitation of silica under prevailing arid/semi-arid hydrological conditions. Such cogenesis, although spatially highly variable, has an important bearing on preservation and redistribution of economic mineral ores, and on the occurrence of fresh groundwater aquifers in the internal drainage basins of Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)73-89
    Number of pages17
    JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
    Volume36
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1989

    Keywords

    • Palaeodrainage
    • Silcrete-calcrete cogenesis
    • Silica migration
    • Silicifled calcrete

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