Paleontological, mineralogical and chemical studies of syngenetic and epigenetic Pb-Zn-Ba-P mineralizations at the stratotype of the K/P boundary (El Kef area, Tunisia)

Dill, H. G., Weiss, W., Botz, R. and Dohrmann, R. (2011) Paleontological, mineralogical and chemical studies of syngenetic and epigenetic Pb-Zn-Ba-P mineralizations at the stratotype of the K/P boundary (El Kef area, Tunisia) International Journal of Earth Sciences, 100 (4). pp. 805-846. DOI 10.1007/s00531-010-0517-2.

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The El Kef area, Tunisia, is host of the official stratotype of the K/P boundary and of a complex metallic and non-metallic mineralization at Djebel Sekarna, encompassing syn(dia)genetic shale- and carbonate-hosted Zn-P and epigenetic Pb-Zn-Ba ore mineralizations. Micropaleontological, geological, mineralogical, and chemical studies (major and minor elements, C- and O-isotopes) of Upper Santonian to Lower Eocene calcareous-siliciclastic sediments resulted in a subdivision of this mineralization into eight mineralizing stages. Stages 1 and 2 (late Cretaceous-early Paleogene) are representative of syn(diagenetic) shale- and carbonate-hosted sulfidic and siliceous (Fe)-Zn-P mineralization deposited in shallow marine to slightly brackish sediments. Stages 3-5 (early Eocene respectively-pre- and post-Nummulites involutus-exilis zones) are representatives of epigenetic sulfidic and sulfatic (Fe)-Zn-Pb-Ba mineralizations at temperatures as high as 170/200A degrees C and stages 6 and 7 (early Eocene respectively-post-Alveolina oblonga zone) cover the non-sulfidic Zn-(Pb) mineralization at temperatures as high as 60A degrees C which is transitional from hypogene into supergene mineralization ("epithermal calamine deposits"). Stage 8 represents alteration of the pre-existing mineral assemblages in course of the Holocene weathering. The Cretaceous through Paleogene aquatic system is characterized by a poisoning of the sea with base metals, mainly Zn, and the atmosphere was chocked with clouds of fine-grained volcanic ejecta. Both processes contributed to the build-up of Zn-(Pb) deposits and vast, but uneconomic bentonitic clay deposits around the K/P boundary. Ore mineralization in the El Kef area is a multiple-phase process which reached its climax during the early Eocene as indicated by the large foram zones. These inorganic concentration processes resulting in the formation of mineral deposits had obviously also a negative effect on the long-term course of regional Earth's biological history during the late Cretaceous-early Eocene period with lethal consequences for some species. The joint studies of inorganic and organic data reveal that such extraordinary metallogenetic processes close to the K/P boundary in its stratotype area in Tunisia were "strictly terrestrial".

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Pb-Zn-Ba mineralization Phosphorite Cretaceous Paleogene Carbonate El Kef area Tunisia cretaceous-tertiary boundary stable-isotope geochemistry early diagenetic siderite rare-earth geochemistry stevns klint depositional environment british-columbia planktic foraminifera paleomagnetic age organic-matter
Research affiliation: Kiel University
Refereed: No
DOI etc.: 10.1007/s00531-010-0517-2
ISSN: 1437-3254
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2011 04:59
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2012 09:27

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