Giant calcite concretions in aeolian dune sandstones; sedimentological and architectural controls on diagenetic heterogeneity, mid-Cretaceous Iberian Desert System, Spain

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Meléndez Hevia, Nieves
Soria de Miguel, Ana Rosa
De Boer, Poppe
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Elsevier B.V.
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Aeolian dune sandstones of the Iberian erg system (Cretaceous, Spain) host giant calcite concretions that constitute heterogeneities of diagenetic origin within a potential aeolian reservoir. The giant calcite concretions developed in large-scale aeolian dune foresets, at the transition between aeolian dune toeset and damp interdune elements, and in medium-scale superimposed aeolian dune sets. The chemical composition of the giant concretions is very homogeneous. They formed during early burial by lowMg-calcite precipitation frommeteoric pore waters. Carbonate componentswith yellow/orange luminescence form the nuclei of the poikilotopic calcite cement. These cements postdate earlier diagenetic features, characterized by earlymechanical compaction, Fe-oxide cements and clay rims around windblown quartz grains resulting from the redistribution of aeolian dust over the grain surfaces. The intergranular volume (IGV) in friable aeolian sandstone ranges from 7.3 to 15.3%, whereas in cemented aeolian sandstone it is 18.6 to 25.3%. The giant-calcite concretions developed during early diagenesis under the influence of meteoric waters associated with the groundwater flow of the desert basin, although local (e.g. activity of fluid flow through extensional faults) and/or other regional controls (e.g. variations of the phreatic level associated with a variable water influx to the erg system and varying sea level) could have favoured the local development of giant-calcite concretions. The spatial distribution pattern of carbonate grains and the main bounding surfaces determined the spatial distribution of the concretions. In particular, the geometry of the giant calcite concretions is closely associated with main bounding aeolian surfaces. Thus, interdune, superimposition and reactivation surfaces exerted a control on the concretion geometries ranging fromflat and tabular ones (e.g. bounded by interdunes) towedge-shaped concretions at the dune foresets (e.g. bounded by superimposition and reactivation surfaces) determining the spatial distribution of the heterogeneities of diagenetic origin in the aeolian reservoir.