, 34:159 | Cite as

The formation of micritic limestones and the development of limestone-marl alternations in the Silurian of Gotland, Sweden

  • Axel Munnecke
  • Christian Samtleben


Micritic limestone-marl alternations make up the major part of the Silurian strata on Gotland (Sweden). Their position on the stable Baltic Shield protected them from deep burial and tectonic stress and allowed the preservation of early stages of burial diagenesis, including lithification. In the micritic limestones certain characteristics have been preserved (e.g., pitted microspar crystals, sharp boundaries between microspar and components, lack of deformation phenomena) that offer insights into their formation. We suppose the formation of these micritic limestones and limestone-marl alternations to be based on a rhythmic diagenesis within an aragonite solution zone (ASZ) close below the sediment surface. The micritic limestones are the product of a poikilotopic cementation of carbonate muds which consisted of varying portions of aragonitic, calcitic and terrigenous matter. Their microspar crystals show the primary size and shape of the cements lithifying the original carbonate mud. Dissolution of aragonite in the marls provided the carbonate for the lithification of the limestones. By cementation, the limestone beds evaded further compaction. The marls, which already underwent a volume decrease by aragonite depletion, lacked cement and became more and more compacted due to increasing sedimentary overburden. Although field observations show that primary differences in material influence the development of limestone-marl alternations they are not required for their formation.


Limestone-Marl Alternations Micritic Limestones Aragonite Diagenesis Micrite Microspar Gotland Silurian 


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© Institut für Paläontologie, Universität Erlangen 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Axel Munnecke
    • 1
  • Christian Samtleben
    • 1
  1. 1.Geologisch-Paläontologisches Institut und Museum der Universität KielKielGermany

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