Several pelitic intervals are intercalated at various levels within the marly-arenaceous turbiditic successions of the middle Miocene northern Apennine foredeep. They range in thickness from 30 to 200 m, and represent sedimentation on top of ephemeral structural highs related to blind faults. Sediments are made up of hemipelagites and fine-grained turbidites, and include C-13-depleted carbonates, related to the rising of methane-rich fluids (hydrocarbon seep-carbonates). Large portions of pelitic intervals are involved in chaotic masses by soft sediment deformation (slumps, slides, intraformational breccias), revealing an intense sediment instability during middle Miocene. A stratigraphic, mineralogic and geochemical study was conducted on two of these pelitic intervals (Castagno d´Andrea, Mt Citerna) in order to reconstruct carbonate development, the composition of fluids, and to document the connections between fluid seepage and syndepositional tectonics. This multidisciplinary approach has allowed us to discriminate between the two examined pelitic intervals in terms of age, depositional rates and conditions, organic carbon and post-depositional processes. Seep-carbonates are characterized by chemosymbiotic fossil communities, autoclastic fractures and brecciation; carbonate bodies show complex facies relationships, as indicative of different stages in chemoherm growth. The compositional study evidences the peculiar chemistry of chemoherm carbonates (calcite low in Mg and Sr) compared with carbonates in associated enclosing pelites and with modern chemoherms, in general. The non-carbonate components within the chemoherms are enriched in detrital minerals and depleted in phyllosilicates with respect to the enclosing pelites. The mineralogical changes in the clay component within the brecciated unit of the Castagno d´Andrea chemoherms suggest authigenic precipitation of the Mg-rich phases. Isotopic analyses show the distinct carbon signature in the chemoherms from the two examined intervals (Castagno d´Andrea chemoherms more depleted, from - 15.8parts per thousand up to - 41.3parts per thousand PDB, than Mt Citema, from - 5.2parts per thousand up to - 16.7parts per thousand), and the transitional C-13-depletion trend observed moving from chemoherms to the enclosing pelites (moderately depleted) and Te (Bouma sequence) turbidites (in the range of marine carbonates). A slight but significant enrichment in delta(18)O (up to +1.4% PDB);is observed for all chemoherms when compared to values of carbonate phases present in enclosing pelites. Geochemical data indicate that the brecciated facies of seep-carbonates are related to an explosive release of gaseous fluids probably associated with the rise of deep hypersaline fluids.

A multidisciplinary study of middle Miocene seep-carbonates from the northern Apennines foredeep (Italy) / Conti, Stefano; Fontana, Daniela; A., Gubertini; Sighinolfi, Giampaolo; F., Tateo; Fioroni, Chiara; Fregni, Paola. - In: SEDIMENTARY GEOLOGY. - ISSN 0037-0738. - STAMPA. - 169:(2004), pp. 1-19.

A multidisciplinary study of middle Miocene seep-carbonates from the northern Apennines foredeep (Italy).

CONTI, Stefano;FONTANA, Daniela;SIGHINOLFI, Giampaolo;FIORONI, Chiara;FREGNI, Paola
2004

Abstract

Several pelitic intervals are intercalated at various levels within the marly-arenaceous turbiditic successions of the middle Miocene northern Apennine foredeep. They range in thickness from 30 to 200 m, and represent sedimentation on top of ephemeral structural highs related to blind faults. Sediments are made up of hemipelagites and fine-grained turbidites, and include C-13-depleted carbonates, related to the rising of methane-rich fluids (hydrocarbon seep-carbonates). Large portions of pelitic intervals are involved in chaotic masses by soft sediment deformation (slumps, slides, intraformational breccias), revealing an intense sediment instability during middle Miocene. A stratigraphic, mineralogic and geochemical study was conducted on two of these pelitic intervals (Castagno d´Andrea, Mt Citerna) in order to reconstruct carbonate development, the composition of fluids, and to document the connections between fluid seepage and syndepositional tectonics. This multidisciplinary approach has allowed us to discriminate between the two examined pelitic intervals in terms of age, depositional rates and conditions, organic carbon and post-depositional processes. Seep-carbonates are characterized by chemosymbiotic fossil communities, autoclastic fractures and brecciation; carbonate bodies show complex facies relationships, as indicative of different stages in chemoherm growth. The compositional study evidences the peculiar chemistry of chemoherm carbonates (calcite low in Mg and Sr) compared with carbonates in associated enclosing pelites and with modern chemoherms, in general. The non-carbonate components within the chemoherms are enriched in detrital minerals and depleted in phyllosilicates with respect to the enclosing pelites. The mineralogical changes in the clay component within the brecciated unit of the Castagno d´Andrea chemoherms suggest authigenic precipitation of the Mg-rich phases. Isotopic analyses show the distinct carbon signature in the chemoherms from the two examined intervals (Castagno d´Andrea chemoherms more depleted, from - 15.8parts per thousand up to - 41.3parts per thousand PDB, than Mt Citema, from - 5.2parts per thousand up to - 16.7parts per thousand), and the transitional C-13-depletion trend observed moving from chemoherms to the enclosing pelites (moderately depleted) and Te (Bouma sequence) turbidites (in the range of marine carbonates). A slight but significant enrichment in delta(18)O (up to +1.4% PDB);is observed for all chemoherms when compared to values of carbonate phases present in enclosing pelites. Geochemical data indicate that the brecciated facies of seep-carbonates are related to an explosive release of gaseous fluids probably associated with the rise of deep hypersaline fluids.
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A multidisciplinary study of middle Miocene seep-carbonates from the northern Apennines foredeep (Italy) / Conti, Stefano; Fontana, Daniela; A., Gubertini; Sighinolfi, Giampaolo; F., Tateo; Fioroni, Chiara; Fregni, Paola. - In: SEDIMENTARY GEOLOGY. - ISSN 0037-0738. - STAMPA. - 169:(2004), pp. 1-19.
Conti, Stefano; Fontana, Daniela; A., Gubertini; Sighinolfi, Giampaolo; F., Tateo; Fioroni, Chiara; Fregni, Paola
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