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Iron and silica enrichments in the middle Albian neptunian dykes from the High-Tatric Unit, Central Western Carpathians: an indication of hydrothermal activity for an extensional tectonic regime


Studies dealing with the response of subaqueous volcanic and hydrothermal activities to carbonate sedimentation in hemipelagic environments affected by tectonic processes are comparatively rare. Here, a microfacies record with combined chemical data from the neptunian dykes found at an intrabasinal ridge (Tatric Ridge; Carpathian domain of the Western Tethys), close to a source of alkaline volcanism with possible hydrothermal vents (Zliechov Basin), is presented. The characteristic features of the neptunian dykes, up to 20 cm thick, in the middle Albian echinoderm-foraminiferal limestones (Tatra Mountains, Inner Carpathians) are their red fillings. Microprobe and x-ray diffraction analyses show that this reddish material, partly mixed with sparitic clasts coming from the host limestone, consists mainly of hematite crystals which are associated with low crystalline silica and quartz. The microfacies data suggest that the reddish infillings of the dykes is partly related to dissolution processes inside the fissures that could have taken place during the transport of FeCl3 fluids together with silica gel. The fluids could have been derived from hydrothermal vents occurring along the extensional faults in the neighbouring Zliechov Basin. Rare Earth element (REE) signatures of the reddish infill (i.e. low values of total REE content, chondrite- and Post-Archean Australian Shale-normalized REE + Y patterns with negative Ce anomaly) and a high Y/Ho ratio suggest authigenic removal of REEs from the water column. This suggests that the fissures were open to the sea bottom and were in contact with sea water during their filling.

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