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Chemical and mineralogical characteristics of Pleistocene caliche deposits from the Central Ebro Basin, NE Spain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2018

C. Sancho
Affiliation:
Dpto. de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza
A. Melendez
Affiliation:
Dpto. de Ciencias de la Tierra, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza
M. Signes
Affiliation:
AIJU, Ibi, Alicante
J. Bastida
Affiliation:
Dpto. de Geología, Universidad de Valencia, Burjasot-Valencia, Spain

Abstract

Chemical and mineralogical analyses of fossil caliche profiles developed on top of Lower Pleistocene alluvial formations in the East-central sector of the Ebro basin indicate that they have high content of carbonate (average 84%) and high Ca/Mg ratios (average 136). The clay mineral assemblages vary slightly depending on the host material, and, therefore, on the alluvial formation in the source area. Inherited detrital minerals (illite, kaolinite and chlorite), transformed components (from chlorite to mixed-layers of chlorite-vermiculite, and from smectite to palygorskite) and a neoformed phase (palygorskite) have been observed. The contents of carbonate and magnesian clay minerals (smectite and palygorskite) increase from the bottom to the top of the profiles, in relation to hardpan laminated caliche facies. The amount of palygorskite is controlled by the concentration of Mg2+ which in turn depends on the absolute content of Mg2+ in the host material and on its relative concentration by processes of evaporation linked to decreasing permeability in the profile during the biogenic-pedogenetic carbonate accumulation stages. These processes form part of the development of caliche profiles in a semi-arid environment.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Mineralogical Society of Great Britain and Ireland 1992

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