Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 82, Issue 4, pp 360–370

Generation of evenly-spaced pressure-solution seams during (late) diagenesis: A kinetic theory

  • Enrique Merino
  • Peter Ortoleva
  • Peter Strickholm
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00399713

Cite this article as:
Merino, E., Ortoleva, P. & Strickholm, P. Contrib Mineral Petrol (1983) 82: 360. doi:10.1007/BF00399713

Abstract

Stylolites and pressure-solution seams can form during diagenesis of rocks subjected to stress through a feedback involving texture and pore-fluid solute concentration. This feedback destabilizes the state of uniform texture (represented here only by porosity, for simplicity). A mathematical kinetic model that includes pressure solution, diffusion, and reprecipitation predicts the spontaneous generation, even in initially uniform rocks, of regions alternatingly (in space) more and less soluble. A region that becomes more soluble also becomes simultaneously more porous. The kinetic theory predicts that Stylolites can form at roughly constant spacings; this agrees with many field and petrographic observations. Bedding planes between beds that have initially different texture are shown by the theory to be the focus of a porosity instability that can lead to the formation of a stylolite and to the generation of more Stylolites within each bed. This prediction agrees with the observation that many Stylolites have developed at bedding planes.

Finally, the theory, on the basis of transport, kinetic and thermodynamic properties for calcite and quartz and their aqueous ions, predicts the order of magnitude of both the spacing between Stylolites and their time of formation. For limestones the predicted spacing has a very large range, perhaps from 10−4 to 102 cm, and for quartz arenites, chert, and quartzites it is between 0.025 and 3 cm. These values agree crudely with spacings observed in rocks. The predicted times of formation of Stylolites in quartzose rocks are not unreasonable: 6,300 to 1.7×106 years. The range of formation times for Sstylolites in limestones is very large due, as for the predicted spacings, to the sensitivity of both the solubility and growth/dissolution kinetics of calcite to pH, \(P_{{\text{CO}}_{\text{2}} }\), and many inhibitors.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Enrique Merino
    • 1
  • Peter Ortoleva
    • 1
    • 2
  • Peter Strickholm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA