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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-02-01
    Description: The assessment of diagenetic overprint on microstructural and geochemical data gained from fossil archives is of fundamental importance for understanding palaeoenvironments. The correct reconstruction of past environmental dynamics is only possible when pristine skeletons are unequivocally distinguished from altered skeletal elements. Our previous studies show (i) that replacement of biogenic carbonate by inorganic calcite occurs via an interface-coupled dissolution–reprecipitation mechanism. (ii) A comprehensive understanding of alteration of the biogenic skeleton is only given when structural changes are assessed on both, the micrometre as well as on the nanometre scale. In the present contribution we investigate experimental hydrothermal alteration of six different modern biogenic carbonate materials to (i) assess their potential for withstanding diagenetic overprint and to (ii) find characteristics for the preservation of their microstructure in the fossil record. Experiments were performed at 175°C with a 100 mM NaCl + 10 mM MgCl2 alteration solution and lasted for up to 35 days. For each type of microstructure we (i) examine the evolution of biogenic carbonate replacement by inorganic calcite, (ii) highlight different stages of inorganic carbonate formation, (iii) explore microstructural changes at different degrees of alteration, and (iv) perform a statistical evaluation of microstructural data to highlight changes in crystallite size between the pristine and the altered skeletons. We find that alteration from biogenic aragonite to inorganic calcite proceeds along pathways where the fluid enters the material. It is fastest in hard tissues with an existing primary porosity and a biopolymer fabric within the skeleton that consists of a network of fibrils. The slowest alteration kinetics occurs when biogenic nacreous aragonite is replaced by inorganic calcite, irrespective of the mode of assembly of nacre tablets. For all investigated biogenic carbonates we distinguish the following intermediate stages of alteration: (i) decomposition of biopolymers and the associated formation of secondary porosity, (ii) homoepitactic overgrowth with preservation of the original phase leading to amalgamation of neighbouring mineral units (i.e. recrystallization by grain growth eliminating grain boundaries), (iii) deletion of the original microstructure, however, at first, under retention of the original mineralogical phase, and (iv) replacement of both, the pristine microstructure and original phase with the newly formed abiogenic product. At the alteration front we find between newly formed calcite and reworked biogenic aragonite the formation of metastable Mg-rich carbonates with a calcite-type structure and compositions ranging from dolomitic to about 80mol % magnesite. This high-Mg calcite seam shifts with the alteration front when the latter is displaced within the unaltered biogenic aragonite. For all investigated biocarbonate hard tissues we observe the destruction of the microstructure first, and, in a second step, the replacement of the original with the newly formed phase.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2018-07-26
    Description: We present results of bioaragonite to apatite conversion in bivalve, coral and cuttlebone skeletons, biological hard materials distinguished by specific microstructures, skeletal densities, original porosities and biopolymer contents. The most profound conversion occurs in the cuttlebone of the cephalopod Sepia officinalis, the least effect is observed for the nacreous shell portion of the bivalve Hyriopsis cumingii. The shell of the bivalve Arctica islandica consists of cross-lamellar aragonite, is dense at its innermost and porous at the seaward pointing shell layers. Increased porosity facilitates infiltration of the reaction fluid and renders large surface areas for the dissolution of aragonite and conversion to apatite. Skeletal microstructures of the coral Porites sp. and prismatic H. cumingii allow considerable conversion to apatite. Even though the surface area in Porites sp. is significantly larger in comparison to that of prismatic H. cumingii, the coral skeleton consists of clusters of dense, acicular aragonite. Conversion in the latter is sluggish at first as most apatite precipitates only onto its surface area. However, the process is accelerated when, in addition, fluids enter the hard tissue at centers of calcification. The prismatic shell portion of H. cumingii is readily transformed to apatite as we find here an increased porosity between prisms as well as within the membranes encasing the prisms. In conclusion, we observe distinct differences in bioaragonite to apatite conversion rates and kinetics depending on the feasibility of the reaction fluid to access aragonite crystallites. The latter is dependent on the content of biopolymers within the hard tissue, their feasibility to be decomposed, the extent of newly formed mineral surface area and the specific biogenic ultra- and microstructures.
    Electronic ISSN: 2075-163X
    Topics: Geosciences
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-06-07
    Description: Calcite growing in biomimetic hydrogel environments incorporates the gel during its growth. The amount of occluded gel within the composite is mainly determined by the interaction between gel strength and crystallization pressure, with the latter being directly related to supersaturation and growth rate. In previous work we established a direct correlation between increased amounts of occluded gel with misorientations in the growing calcite crystals or aggregates. The presence of Mg2+ in the growth environment adds complexity to the internal structuring of the mineral.In this contribution we examine the effects of Mg2+ on the mechanical parameters of gelatin hydrogel and silica hydrogel by mechanical shear stress tests, we determine characteristics of the gel fabric occluded in the calcite using selective etching techniques and high-resolution field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM) imaging, and we use electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) to study co-orientation or misorientation in the calcite crystals or aggregates.We show that two independent mechanisms are responsible for the complex impact of Mg2+ in the growth medium on the calcite/gel composites. First, addition of 0.1 M Mg2+ reduces the yield-strength of the gels by about 50%. While gelatin gel shows continuous strain hardening in a similar way for Mg-bearing and Mg-free systems, the silica-gel weakens after reaching an ultimate shear strength, where the strain associated with the maximum in strength shifts by 350% to higher values. The decreased gel strength in the Mg-bearing systems leads to decreased amounts of occluded gel. Second, incorporation of Mg2+ in the growing calcite (i) increases its solubility and thus decreases crystallization pressure, and (ii) introduces small angle grain boundaries due to misfit strains which lead to “split growth”, i.e. misoriented subunits of the calcite or – ultimately – spherulitic growth. Our study further clearly shows that Mg not only influences the organization of the mineral component within the aggregate but also the fabric of the occluded gel matrix. The fabrics of the occluded gel change from compact gel membranes to finely dispersed networks with increasing Mg and, correspondingly, decreased crystallization pressure via increasing solubility as more Mg incorporates into calcite structure. This circumstance initiates the large variety of calcite crystal co- and misorientation patterns and hierarchical assemblies that we find in the investigated composites.
    Print ISSN: 0935-1221
    Electronic ISSN: 1617-4011
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Schweizerbart
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-12-21
    Description: The assessment of diagenetic overprint on microstructural and geochemical data gained from fossil archives is of fundamental importance for understanding palaeoenvironments. The correct reconstruction of past environmental dynamics is only possible when pristine skeletons are unequivocally distinguished from altered skeletal elements. Our previous studies show (i) that replacement of biogenic carbonate by inorganic calcite occurs via an interface-coupled dissolution–reprecipitation mechanism. (ii) A comprehensive understanding of alteration of the biogenic skeleton is only given when structural changes are assessed on both, the micrometre as well as on the nanometre scale. In the present contribution we investigate experimental hydrothermal alteration of six different modern biogenic carbonate materials to (i) assess their potential for withstanding diagenetic overprint and to (ii) find characteristics for the preservation of their microstructure in the fossil record. Experiments were performed at 175°C with a 100 mM NaCl + 10 mM MgCl2 alteration solution and lasted for up to 35 days. For each type of microstructure we (i) examine the evolution of biogenic carbonate replacement by inorganic calcite, (ii) highlight different stages of inorganic carbonate formation, (iii) explore microstructural changes at different degrees of alteration, and (iv) perform a statistical evaluation of microstructural data to highlight changes in crystallite size between the pristine and the altered skeletons. We find that alteration from biogenic aragonite to inorganic calcite proceeds along pathways where the fluid enters the material. It is fastest in hard tissues with an existing primary porosity and a biopolymer fabric within the skeleton that consists of a network of fibrils. The slowest alteration kinetics occurs when biogenic nacreous aragonite is replaced by inorganic calcite, irrespective of the mode of assembly of nacre tablets. For all investigated biogenic carbonates we distinguish the following intermediate stages of alteration: (i) decomposition of biopolymers and the associated formation of secondary porosity, (ii) homoepitactic overgrowth with preservation of the original phase leading to amalgamation of neighbouring mineral units (i.e. recrystallization by grain growth eliminating grain boundaries), (iii) deletion of the original microstructure, however, at first, under retention of the original mineralogical phase, and (iv) replacement of both, the pristine microstructure and original phase with the newly formed abiogenic product. At the alteration front we find between newly formed calcite and reworked biogenic aragonite the formation of metastable Mg-rich carbonates with a calcite-type structure and compositions ranging from dolomitic to about 80mol % magnesite. This high-Mg calcite seam shifts with the alteration front when the latter is displaced within the unaltered biogenic aragonite. For all investigated biocarbonate hard tissues we observe the destruction of the microstructure first, and, in a second step, the replacement of the original with the newly formed phase.
    Print ISSN: 1726-4170
    Electronic ISSN: 1726-4189
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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