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Rare earth, major, and trace element composition of Monterey and DSDP chert and associated host sediment: Assessing the influence of chemical fractionation during diagenesis

December 31, 1992

Chert and associated host sediments from Monterey Formation and Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) sequences were analyzed in order to assess chemical behavior during diagenesis of biogenic sediments. The primary compositional contrast between chert and host sediment is a greater absolute SiOconcentration in chert, often with final SiO2 ≥ 98 wt%. This contrast in SiO2 (and SiAl">SiAl) potentially reflects precursor sediment heterogeneity, diagenetic chemical fractionation, or both. SiO2 concentrations and SiAl">SiAl ratios in chert are far greater than in modern siliceous oozes, however and often exceed values in acid-cleaned diatom tests. Compositional contrasts between chert and host sediment are also orders-of-magnitude greater than between multiple samples of the host sediment. Calculations based on the initial composition of adjacent host, observed porosity reductions from host to chert and a postulated influx of pure SiO2, construct a chert composition which is essentially identical to observed SiO2 values in chert. Thus, precursor heterogeneity does not seem to be the dominant factor influencing the current chert composition for the key elements of interest. In order to assess the extent of chemical fractionation during diagenesis, we approximate the precursor composition by analyzing host sediments adjacent to the chert.

The SiO2 concentration contrast seems caused by biogenic SiO2 dissolution and transport from the local adjacent host sediment and subsequent SiO2reprecipitation in the chert. Along with SiO2, other elements are often added (with respect to Al) to Monterey and DSDP chert during silicification, although absolute concentrations decrease. The two Monterey quartz chert nodules investigated, in contrast to the opal-CT and quartz chert lenses, formed primarily by extreme removal of carbonate and phosphate, thereby increasing relative SiO2 concentrations. DSDP chert formed by both carbonate/phosphate dissolution and SiO2 addition from the host. Manganese is fractionated during chert formation, resulting in MnOAl2O3">MnOAl2O3 ratios that no longer record the depositional signal of the precursor sediment.

REE data indicate only subtle diagenetic fractionation across the rare earth series. CeCe∗">CeCe* values do not change significantly during diagenesis of either Monterey or DSDP chert. EuEu∗">EuEu* decreases slightly during formation of DSDP chert. LanYbn">LanYbn is affected only minimally as well. During formation of one Monterey opal-CT chert lens, REEAl">REEAl ratios show subtle distribution changes at Gd and to a lesser extent near Nd and Ho. REE compositional contrasts between diagenetic states of siliceous sediment and chert are of a vastly smaller scale than has been noted between different depositional environments of marine sediment, indicating that the paleoenvironmental REE signature is not obscured by diagenetic overprinting.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1992
Title Rare earth, major, and trace element composition of Monterey and DSDP chert and associated host sediment: Assessing the influence of chemical fractionation during diagenesis
DOI 10.1016/0016-7037(92)90351-I
Authors R.W. Murray, Marilyn R. Buchholtz ten Brink, David C. Gerlach, G. Price Russ III, David L. Jones
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Index ID 70195049
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center