Early Pleistocene banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks at Cape Vani, Milos Island, Greece: A modern analogue of Precambrian banded iron formations?

Sun S, Klemd R, Voudouris P (2022)


Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2022

Journal

Book Volume: 438

Article Number: 106198

DOI: 10.1016/j.sedgeo.2022.106198

Abstract

The genesis of banded iron formations is commonly associated with anoxic and iron-rich (ferruginous) marine conditions throughout the Archean to Palaeoproterozoic, and occasionally in the Neoproterozoic. In recent studies, ~2 million-year-old banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks with alternating Fe- and Si-rich bands occurring in the Cape Vani sedimentary basin on Milos island (Greece) were interpreted to be a modern analogue of Precambrian banded iron formations. This interpretation is mainly due to the discovery of photoferrotrophic-like filamentous fossils in massive iron-rich cherty beddings of another subbasin about 450 m to the south. In this study, we re-examined the stratigraphy and lithology of the Cape Vani basin, carried out detailed petrographic, mineralogical and geochemical investigations of the iron-rich sedimentary rocks, as well as volcaniclastic/volcanic conglomerates and banded hydrothermal veins that are in close spatial association with the iron-rich sedimentary rocks. The Fe2O3 content of the banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks ranges from 0.41 to 11.02 wt% (2.73 wt% on average), far lower than that required per definition for banded iron formations. In addition, the banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks contain substantial clastic materials. Samples with stronger silicification, however, usually contain less clastic materials. The non-clastic components occur as siliceous matrix comprising the same mineral assemblage as the banded hydrothermal veins. These components occur in the interspaces of the clastic materials, within cavities, microfractures and veins crosscutting the layers. Fe2O3, principally reflecting hematite, is intimately linked with the presence of non-clastic materials. Therefore, the non-clastic materials are interpreted as post-depositional products associated with silicification during later stage hydrothermal activities, rather than being syn-depositional as the minerals in Precambrian banded iron formations. Consequently, the Milos banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks cannot be an analogue of Precambrian banded iron formations, seeing their lithological and genetical differences. The geochemical results reveal that both the banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks and the massive iron-rich cherty beddings have the same clastic provenance as the volcaniclastics/volcanic conglomerates, but the massive iron-rich cherty beddings contain more hydrothermal contributions due to more intensive fluid-rock interaction. Thus, the two types of iron-rich sedimentary rocks are considered as clastic sedimentary rocks with varying degrees of hydrothermal overprinting. The massive iron-rich cherty beds were generally subjected to stronger hydrothermal overprinting, and, therefore, contain more siliceous matrix and Fe2O3. The enrichment of Fe is due to post-depositional hydrothermal fluid infiltration to the primary sediment piles. The primary layer planes of the banded iron-rich rocks, their interconnected pores and fractures provided preferential pathways for the hydrothermal fluids, and resulted in denser precipitation of Fe(III) (oxy)hydroxides and SiO2 cement therein. The alternating bands in the banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks, therefore, reflect cyclic permeabilities of the layers (i.e., primary sedimentary planes and porosities), rather than cyclic precipitation of Fe- and Si-minerals. This study also sheds light on an alternative formation mechanism for banded structures in Fe- and Si-rich sedimentary rocks similar to those of Precambrian banded iron formations.

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APA:

Sun, S., Klemd, R., & Voudouris, P. (2022). Early Pleistocene banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks at Cape Vani, Milos Island, Greece: A modern analogue of Precambrian banded iron formations? Sedimentary Geology, 438. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sedgeo.2022.106198

MLA:

Sun, Si, Reiner Klemd, and Panagiotis Voudouris. "Early Pleistocene banded iron-rich sedimentary rocks at Cape Vani, Milos Island, Greece: A modern analogue of Precambrian banded iron formations?" Sedimentary Geology 438 (2022).

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