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Abstract

Ball-shaped concretions ("cannon balls") commonly occur in a marine, organic carbon-rich sedimentary sequence (Innkjegla Member) of the Carolinefjellet Formation (AptianAlbian) in Spitsbergen. The sedimentologic, petrographic and geochemical investigation of these concretions in the Kapp Morton section at Van Mijenfjorden gives insight into their origin and diagenetic evolution. The concretion bodies commenced to form in subsurface environment in the upper part of the sulphate reduction (SR) diagenetic zone. They resulted from pervasive cementation of uncompacted sediment enriched in framboidal pyrite by non-ferroan (up to 2 mol% FeCO3) calcite microspar at local sites of enhanced decomposition of organic matter. Bacterial oxidation of organic matter provided most of carbon dioxide necessary for concretionary calcite precipitation (δ13CCaCO3 ≈ -21%VPDB). Perfect ball-like shapes of the concretions originated at this stage, reflecting isotropic permeability of uncompacted sediment. The concretion bodies cracked under continuous burial as a result of amplification of stress around concretions in a more plastic sediment. The crack systems were filled by non-ferroan (up to 5 mol% FeCO3) calcite spar and blocky pyrite in deeper parts of the SR-zone. This cementation was associated with impregnation of parts of the concretion bodies with microgranular pyrite. Bacterial oxidation of organic matter was still the major source of carbon dioxide for crack-filling calcite precipitation (δ13CCaCO3 ≈ -19% VPDB). At this stage, the cannon-ball concretions attained their final shape and texture. Subsequent stages of concretion evolution involved burial cementation of rudimentary pore space with carbonate minerals (dolomite/ankerite, siderite, calcite) under increased temperature (δ18OCa,Mg,FeCO3 ≈-14% VPDB). Carbon dioxide for mineral precipitation was derived from thermal degradation of organic matter and from dissolution of skeletal carbonates (δ13CCa,Mg,FeCO3≈ - 8‰ VPDB). Kaolinite cement precipitated as the last diagenetic mineral, most probably during post−Early Cretaceous uplift of the sequence.
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