Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 1-5

Date: Latest Version


  • Norbert ClauerAffiliated withLaboratoire d’Hydrologie et de Géochimie de Strasbourg, CNRS - Université de Strasbourg Email author 


Often used by sedimentologists and low-temperature mineralogists and geochemists to describe in situ (on site) mineral precipitation in “soft” rocks, “authigenesis” is derived from Greek “indigenous.” Generally, it results from a discrete and long-lasting process that involves pore fluids of local origin or introduced from elsewhere. However, authigenesis occurs not only in sediments and at low-temperature (<150 °C), that is to say under diagenetic conditions. Its consequences can be very important economically; for instance, industrial clay and metal deposits, as well as mineral precipitation related to hydrocarbon maturation and trapping, may result from authigenic processes.

Some Complementary Aspects of the Definition

Based on the above definition, authigenesis can occur at any time after sediment deposition, depending on the reactivity of the mineral components (organics are also able to interfere or even contribute, but they will not be considered he ...

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