What classic greywacke (litharenite) can reveal about feldspar diagenesis: an example from Permian Rotliegend sandstone in Hessen, Germany

Nicolaas Molenaar, Marita Felder, Kristian Bär, Annette Götz

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Abstract

Rotliegend siliciclastic sediments in southern Hessen (Germany) are a good example of dissolution of detrital feldspars, which is a common feature in many sandstones. Dissolution occurred after mechanical compaction of the lithic-rich sandstone, which experienced framework collapse with pores and pore connections filled and obstructed by deformed ductile lithic grains (pseudomatrix) thereby reducing pore space to microporosity., The advanced degree of compaction and reduced porosity caused low permeability and low hydraulic conductivity of the rock mass. This is further reduced by the presence of wackes and shales that occur intercalated with the sandstones. Feldspar dissolution thus took place in low permeable sediments when large-scale flow of meteoric or acidic fluids is ruled out as a cause of feldspar dissolution. Mineral precipitation (illite, kaolinite, and albite) took place within pseudomatrix and detrital matrix as well as in secondary pores created by feldspar dissolution. Feldspar was the source for the authigenesis. The system was thus closed during burial after framework collapse, and diagenetic reactants in the form of detrital components were already present within the system. The original mass was preserved, but redistributed and diagenetic minerals were the local sinks for the dissolved reactants, precipitating within the system. This also suggests that burial diagenesis in general might be more mass conservative than usually assumed.

Rotliegend sandstones thus form a case where, despite of the lack of external exchange of mass by fluid flow, major diagenetic processes did take place and significantly modified the original mineralogy and texture. Feldspar diagenesis can take place from other processes than mere large-scale flushing of open systems as often supposed. It implies that the volumes of rock affected by feldspar diagenesis may be much larger than anticipated based upon the common hold believe that feldspar diagenesis is linked to unconformities and surface weathering or dissolution in near-surface aquifers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-93
Number of pages15
JournalSedimentary Geology
Volume326
Early online date15 Jul 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes

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