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Pyrite-Illite Veins in Basin-Margin Facies: Evidence for Detrital Mineral Control on Pore-Fluid Evolution

John D. Bloch, Deba P. Bhattacharyya

Diagenesis of the Upper Cambrian Lamotte Sandstone includes the formation of euhedral, predominantly cubic pyrite, and 1M and 2M illite as veins in association with extensive quartz dissolution. The illite in these veins is well "crystallized" and distinct from pore-filling illite found in the same deposit. The veins occur only in shallow marine-deposited quartzarenites that overlie or are adjacent to basin-margin alluvial fan deposits composed primarily of lithic arenite. Detrital K-feldspar (in volcanic rock fragments) and iron-bearing minerals, particularly biotite, are abundant in the lithic arenites.

No apparent source for the sulfur can be identified within the Lamotte Sandstone. Therefore, we propose that sulfur-bearing compactional or thermobaric fluids from adjacent basinal facies provided the necessary sulfur for pyrite formation. The migration of these fluids through the lithic arenite, from which iron, potassium, aluminum, and silica were derived, resulted in pyrite and illite deposition in the adjacent quartzarenites. The increased alkalinity and elevated temperature of these fluids resulted in the extensive quartz dissolution.

The absence of these pyrite-illite veins in similar quartzarenites basinward of the fan deposits suggests a detrital mineral control on the evolution of these fluids as they migrated through the Lamotte Sandstone. Further, the formation of illite as opposed to kaolinite indicates that these fluids were finally alkaline.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91043©1986 AAPG Annual Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, June 15-18, 1986.