Microfacies analysis and 3D reconstruction of bioturbated sediments in the calcarenite di Gravina formation (southern Italy)

Bonomo AE, Munnecke A, Schulbert C, Prosser G (2021)

Publication Language: English

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 125

Article Number: 104870

DOI: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2020.104870


The Calcarenite di Gravina is a poorly lithified, heterogeneous bio-lithoclastic Plio-Pleistocene limestone formed in a temperate shallow-water setting. Since prehistoric times it has been used for construction, as witnessed by the “Sassi”, the old city center of Matera (southern Italy). Here, the relatively distal, fine-grained bioclastic grain-packstone is characterized by large bioturbation structures of crustaceans. The aim of this work is to understand how bioturbation controls texture, porosity, permeability, and the cementation of the calcarenite. Crustaceans such as Callianassa are known to produce vertical burrows and sort grains. A bioturbated calcarenite level, outcropping in the Parco Scultura- Cava Paradiso in La Palomba (Matera northern area), has been selected as case study. Large rock samples including fossil traces and surrounding rocks have been analysed. Optical microscope and SEM observations show a close connection between sediment sorting and cementation, and 3D analyses by means of CT scans indicate that the internal structure and the connected porosity of the samples is a function of the cementation. Moreover, the porosity network is reconstructed in 3D in order to derive the real connected porosity variations and their implications for the evolution in terms of diagenesis and alteration of the rocks. Indeed, a cementation gradient from the external lining of the burrows to the internal part of the trace fossil is observed. Cementation is less pronounced outside of the trace fossil. Cluster analysis of point-counting results allows to identify four sub-facies characterized by differences in composition, cementation and porosity. One of them is present in the interior of the burrows while the other two characterize the external lining (crust) and storage chamber of crustacean burrows. The last sub-facies occurs in the area surrounding the trace fossils and shows a weaker cementation. The presence of a cementation gradient inside the trace fossil is explained through a diagenetic model that considers the contribution of different factors. The geochemical environments allow the CaCO3 precipitation inside the burrows starting from the lining to the internal area thanks to the microbial actions, water circulation and relative oxygenation of fluids. Dissolution of aragonitic components probably represents the principal source of CaCO3. Variation in cementation and porosity are quite moderate, but capable of generating major differences in the resistance to weathering. From this study it emerges how the diagenetic processes lead to significant changes in the bioturbated fabric, making the burrows less permeable than the surrounding sediment. This is confirmed by the selective erosion that brings to light very well-preserved traces of Callianassidae even on building stones.

Authors with CRIS profile

Involved external institutions

How to cite


Bonomo, A.E., Munnecke, A., Schulbert, C., & Prosser, G. (2021). Microfacies analysis and 3D reconstruction of bioturbated sediments in the calcarenite di Gravina formation (southern Italy). Marine and Petroleum Geology, 125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2020.104870


Bonomo, Agnese Emanuela, et al. "Microfacies analysis and 3D reconstruction of bioturbated sediments in the calcarenite di Gravina formation (southern Italy)." Marine and Petroleum Geology 125 (2021).

BibTeX: Download