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Microtexture and genesis of clay minerals from a turbiditic sequence in a Southern Pyrenees foreland basin (Jaca basin, Eocene)

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Abstract:

A set of fine-grained samples from a turbiditic sequence in a Southern Pyrenees foreland basin (Jaca Basin, Eocene) were studied to determine the influence of tectonics (Pyrenean Orogeny) on phyllosilicate recrystallization and infer the grade and basin maturity. The samples from four different outcrops were examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and by scanning (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) with special emphasis on clay-mineral characterization (e.g.illitic phases). The analysed samples have simple mineral assemblages and consist of detrital quartz, albite and calcite, scarce clay matrix (mainly illite with chlorite), and calcite and dolomite cement. The lack of other phyllosilicates such as mixed-layer illite-smectite (I-S), pyrophyllite, Na-micas, or kaolin minerals is quite remarkable. On the SEM scale, samples (with marl composition) have poorly sorted textures and high detrital contents. In many cases they show bedding and/or cleavage, and in some cases neither is observed. Most of the clay-sized illites show very similar crystallinity and b 0 values (determined by XRD) and distributions of crystallite thickness (measured by TEM) in all the outcrops, which is typical of late-diagenesis illites forming under low-pressure conditions. These illites are parallel (or subparallel) to bedding or randomly orientated. They are also characterized by disordered polytypes and low K contents. In some TEM images, a second type of illite has been observed. This secondary illite occurs parallel to cleavage, with thicker crystals (25 – 35 layers), K contents in the interlayer, and a 2M1 polytype. The pole figure analysis shows that most of the clays have (00l) planes parallel (or subparallel) to bedding although there are abundant clays with random orientation. There is no trend in the clay orientation/disorientation from the south to the north of the basin. All the data indicate that the strain rate associated with the Pyrenean Orogeny has not been recorded in the turbidite sequence controlling the relative orientation of clays, although anchizonal clay crystallization is favoured as a minor process.

Keywords: CLAYS; DIAGENESIS; FORELAND BASIN; SEM; TEM; TEXTURE; TURBIDITES; XRD

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1180/claymin.2012.047.3.02

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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