Quantcast

Textural evidences for dissolution of silica-rich rocks of the Ypresian phosphatic series, Gafsa-Metlaoui basin, southwestern Tunisia: implication of biogenic silica supply on genesis of fibrous clays

Research paper by Mongi Felhi, Raja Saidi; Nabil Fattah; Ali Tlili

Indexed on: 15 Nov '16Published on: 03 Nov '16Published in: Arabian Journal of Geosciences



Abstract

Abstract The present work aimed to determine the mineralogical composition of Ypresian series and to clarify the influence of the dissolution of siliceous frustules on the genesis of fibrous clay minerals. The specimens sampled from CPG trench are mainly constituted of silica-rich rocks at Mides area located at the western part of Gafsa-Metlaoui basin. The samples were investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in order to determine texture of constituents. The data obtained indicate that the bulk rock samples are mainly made up of opal CT and clay minerals. The latter consists of palygorskite-sepiolite minerals associated with smectite and few amount of illite. The trend of mineralogical composition indicates that fibrous clay minerals are more concentrated at the upper part. SEM observations indicated that palygorskite mineral appears as thread-like facies, which surround foliated texture of smectite in the lower part of the Mides section, although with the low Mg activity confirmed by the absence of dolomite. But, at the upper part of the Mides section, SEM observations revealed the occurrence of siliceous frustules, which have numerous dissolved areas and replacement of carbonate tests by silica. The dissolution saturated the depositional environment with silica which is required for the formation of palygorskite and sepiolite minerals, in addition to high Mg activity confirmed by the presence of dolomite in the bulk rock, which is required basically for the formation of sepiolite. Although the genesis mode of palygorskite and sepiolite is similar with very little difference, the genesis of sepiolite needs a high alkalinity than the formation of palygorskite.AbstractThe present work aimed to determine the mineralogical composition of Ypresian series and to clarify the influence of the dissolution of siliceous frustules on the genesis of fibrous clay minerals. The specimens sampled from CPG trench are mainly constituted of silica-rich rocks at Mides area located at the western part of Gafsa-Metlaoui basin. The samples were investigated using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in order to determine texture of constituents. The data obtained indicate that the bulk rock samples are mainly made up of opal CT and clay minerals. The latter consists of palygorskite-sepiolite minerals associated with smectite and few amount of illite. The trend of mineralogical composition indicates that fibrous clay minerals are more concentrated at the upper part. SEM observations indicated that palygorskite mineral appears as thread-like facies, which surround foliated texture of smectite in the lower part of the Mides section, although with the low Mg activity confirmed by the absence of dolomite. But, at the upper part of the Mides section, SEM observations revealed the occurrence of siliceous frustules, which have numerous dissolved areas and replacement of carbonate tests by silica. The dissolution saturated the depositional environment with silica which is required for the formation of palygorskite and sepiolite minerals, in addition to high Mg activity confirmed by the presence of dolomite in the bulk rock, which is required basically for the formation of sepiolite. Although the genesis mode of palygorskite and sepiolite is similar with very little difference, the genesis of sepiolite needs a high alkalinity than the formation of palygorskite.