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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-05
    Description: Fossil carbonate skeletons of marine organisms are archives for understanding the development and evolution of palaeo-environments. However, the correct assessment of past environment dynamics is only possible when pristine skeletons and their biogenic characteristics are unequivocally distinguishable from diagenetically-alteredskeletal elements and non-biogenic features. In this study, we extend our work on diagenesis of biogenic aragonite (Casella et al. 2017) to the investigation of biogenic low-Mg calcite using brachiopod shells. We examined and compared microstructural characteristics inducedby laboratory-based alteration to structural features derived from diagenetic alteration in natural environments. We used four screening methods: cathodoluminescence (CL), cryogenic and conventional field emission-scanning electronmicroscopy (FE-SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM) and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD).We base our assessments of diagenetic alteration and overprint on measurements of, a) images of optical overprint signals, b) changes in calcite crystal orientation patterns, and c) crystal co-orientation statistics. According to the screening process, altered and overprinted samples define two groups. In Group 1 the entire shell is diagenetically overprinted, whereas in Group 2 the shell contains pristine as well as overprinted parts. In the case of Group 2 shells, alteration occurred either along the periphery of the shell including the primary layer or at the interior-facing surface of the fibrous/columnar layer. In addition, we observed an important mode of the overprinting process, namely the migration of diagenetic fluids through the endopunctae corroborated by mineral formation and overprinting in their immediate vicinity, while leaving shell parts between endopunctae in pristine condition. Luminescence (CL) and microstructural imaging (FE-SEM) screening give first-order observations of the degree of overprint as they cover macro-to micron scale alteration features. For a comprehensive assessment of diagenetic overprint these screening methods should be complemented by screening techniques such as EBSD and AFM. They visualise diagenetic changes at submicron and nanoscale levels depicting the replacement of pristine nanocomposite mesocrystal biocarbonate (NMB) by inorganic rhombohedral calcite (IRC). The integration of screening methods allows for the unequivocal identification of highly-detailed alteration features as well as an assessment of the degree of diagenetic alteration.
    Repository Name: EPIC Alfred Wegener Institut
    Type: Article , NonPeerReviewed
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    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
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2020-02-06
    Description: The present data in brief article provides additional data and information to our research article “Micro- and nanostructures reflect the degree of diagenetic alteration in modern and fossil brachiopod shell calcite: a multi-analytical screening approach (CL, FE-SEM, AFM, EBSD)” [1] (Casella et al.). We present fibre morphology, nano- and microstructure, as well as calcite crystal orientations and textures found in pristine, experimentally altered (hydrothermal and thermal), and diagenetically overprinted brachiopod shells. Combination of the screening tools AFM, FE-SEM, and EBSD allows to observe a significant change in microstructural and textural features with an increasing degree of laboratory-based and naturally occurring diagenetic alteration. Amalgamation of neighbouring fibres was observed on the micrometre scale level, whereas progressive decomposition of biopolymers in the shells and fusion of nanoparticulate calcite crystals was detected on the nanometre scale. The presented data in this article and the study described in [1] allows for qualitative information on the degree of diagenetic alteration of fossil archives used for palaeoclimate reconstruction.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed , info:eu-repo/semantics/article
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2015-05-01
    Description: Analytical Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/ac504578t
    Print ISSN: 0003-2700
    Electronic ISSN: 1520-6882
    Topics: Chemistry and Pharmacology
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-07-10
    Description: The assessment of diagenetic overprint on microstructural and geochemical data gained from fossil archives is of fundamental importance for understanding palaeoenvironments. A correct reconstruction of past environmental dynamics is only possible when pristine skeletons are unequivocally distinguished from altered skeletal elements. Our previous studies (Casella et al., 2017) have shown that replacement of biogenic carbonate by inorganic calcite occurs via an interface coupled dissolution–reprecipitation mechanism. Furthermore, for a comprehensive assessment of alteration, structural changes have to be assessed on the nanoscale as well, which documents the replacement of pristine nanoparticulate calcite by diagenetic nanorhombohedral calcite (Casella et al., 2018a, b). In the present contribution we investigated six different modern biogenic carbonate microstructures for their behaviour under hydrothermal alteration in order to assess their potential to withstand diagenetic overprint and to test the integrity of their preservation in the fossil record. For each microstructure (a) the evolution of biogenic aragonite and calcite replacement by inorganic calcite was examined, (b) distinct carbonate mineral formation steps on the micrometre scale were highlighted, (c) microstructural changes at different stages of alteration were explored, and (d) statistical analysis of differences in basic mineral unit dimensions in pristine and altered skeletons was performed. The latter analysis enables an unequivocal determination of the degree of diagenetic overprint and discloses information especially about low degrees of hydrothermal alteration.
    Print ISSN: 1810-6277
    Electronic ISSN: 1810-6285
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 6
    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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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-03-24
    Description: Biomineralised hard parts form the most important physical fossil record of past environmental conditions. However, living organisms are not in thermodynamic equilibrium with their environment and create local chemical compartments within their bodies where physiologic processes such as biomineralisation take place. In generating their mineralised hard parts, most marine invertebrates produce metastable aragonite rather than the stable polymorph of CaCO3, calcite. After death of the organism the physiological conditions, which were present during biomineralisation, are not sustained any further and the system moves toward inorganic equilibrium with the surrounding inorganic geological system. Thus, during diagenesis the original biogenic structure of aragonitic tissue disappears and is replaced by inorganic structural features. In order to understand the diagenetic replacement of biogenic aragonite to non-biogenic calcite, we subjected Arctica islandica mollusc shells to hydrothermal alteration experiments. Experimental conditions were between 100 and 175°C, with the main focus on 100 and 175°C, reaction durations between 1 and 84 days, and alteration fluids simulating meteoric and burial waters, respectively. Detailed microstructural and geochemical data were collected for samples altered at 100°C (and at 0.1MPa pressure) for 28 days and for samples altered at 175°C (and at 0.9MPa pressure) for 7 and 84 days. During hydrothermal alteration at 100°C for 28 days most but not the entire biopolymer matrix was destroyed, while shell aragonite and its characteristic microstructure was largely preserved. In all experiments up to 174°C, there are no signs of a replacement reaction of shell aragonite to calcite in X-ray diffraction bulk analysis. At 175°C the replacement reaction started after a dormant time of 4 days, and the original shell microstructure was almost completely overprinted by the aragonite to calcite replacement reaction after 10 days. Newly formed calcite nucleated at locations which were in contact with the fluid, at the shell surface, in the open pore system, and along growth lines. In the experiments with fluids simulating meteoric water, calcite crystals reached sizes up to 200µm, while in the experiments with Mg-containing fluids the calcite crystals reached sizes up to 1mm after 7 days of alteration. Aragonite is metastable at all applied conditions. Only a small bulk thermodynamic driving force exists for the transition to calcite. We attribute the sluggish replacement reaction to the inhibition of calcite nucleation in the temperature window from ca. 50 to ca. 170°C or, additionally, to the presence of magnesium. Correspondingly, in Mg2+-bearing solutions the newly formed calcite crystals are larger than in Mg2+-free solutions. Overall, the aragonite–calcite transition occurs via an interface-coupled dissolution–reprecipitation mechanism, which preserves morphologies down to the sub-micrometre scale and induces porosity in the newly formed phase. The absence of aragonite replacement by calcite at temperatures lower than 175°C contributes to explaining why aragonitic or bimineralic shells and skeletons have a good potential of preservation and a complete fossil record.
    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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  • 8
  • 9
    Publication Date: 2016-09-26
    Description: Biomineralised hard parts form the most important physical fossil record of past environmental conditions. However, living organisms are not in thermodynamic equilibrium with their environment and create local chemical compartments within their bodies where physiologic processes such as biomineralisation take place. Generating their mineralized hard parts most marine invertebrates thus produce metastable aragonite rather than the stable polymorph of CaCO3, calcite. After death of the organism, the physiological conditions which were present during biomineralisation are not sustained any further and the system moves toward inorganic equilibrium with the surrounding inorganic geological system. Thus, during diagenesis the original biogenic structure of aragonitic tissue disappears and is replaced by inorganic structural features. In order to understand the diagenetic replacement of biogenic aragonite to non-biogenic calcite, we subjected Arctica islandica mollusc shells to hydrothermal alteration experiments. Experimental conditions were between 100 °C and 175 °C with reaction durations between one and 84 days, and alteration fluids simulating meteoric and burial waters, respectively. Detailed microstructural and geochemical data were collected for samples altered at 100 °C (and at 0.1 MPa pressure) for 28 days and for samples altered at 175 °C (and at 0.9 MPa pressure) for 7 and 84 days, respectively. During hydrothermal alteration at 100 °C for 28 days, most but not all of the biopolymer matrix was destroyed, while shell aragonite and its characteristic microstructure was largely preserved. In all experiments below 175 °C there are no signs of a replacement reaction of shell aragonite to calcite in X-ray diffraction bulk analysis. At 175 °C the replacement reaction started after a dormant time of 4 days, and the original shell microstructure was almost completely overprinted by the aragonite to calcite replacement reaction after 10 days. Newly formed calcite nucleated at locations which were in contact with the fluid, at the shell surface, in the open pore system, and along growth lines. In the experiments with fluids simulating meteoric water, calcite crystals reached sizes up to 200 micrometres, while in the experiments with Mg-containing fluids the calcite crystals reached sizes up to one mm after 7 days of alteration. Aragonite is metastable at all applied conditions. A small bulk thermodynamic driving force exists for the transition to calcite, which is augmented by stresses induced by organic matrix and interface energies related to the nanoparticulate architecture of the biogenic aragonite. We attribute the sluggish replacement reaction to the inhibition of calcite nucleation in the temperature window from ca. 50 °C to ca. 170 °C, or, additionally, to the presence of magnesium. Correspondingly, in Mg2+-bearing solutions the newly formed calcite crystals are larger than in Mg2+-free solutions. Overall, the aragonite-calcite transition occurs via an interface-coupled dissolution-reprecipitation mechanism, which preserves morphologies down to the sub-micrometre scale and induces porosity in the newly formed phase. The absence of aragonite replacement by calcite at temperatures lower than 175 °C contributes to explain why aragonitic or bimineralic shells and skeletons have a good potential of preservation and a complete fossil record.
    Print ISSN: 1810-6277
    Electronic ISSN: 1810-6285
    Topics: Biology , Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 10
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