Researchers resolve the formation mechanism of spherical carbonate concretions

phys.org | 5/2/2018 | Staff
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All over the world, spectacular fossils have frequently been found preserved inside solid, roughly spherical rocks called "concretions." From geologists to casual observers, many have wondered why these hardened masses of carbonate formed around dead organisms, with round shapes and sharp boundaries with the surrounding material, typically in marine mud and mudstone.

Several important questions regarding concretions have long puzzled scientists. What conditions cause them to form? How long do they take to grow? Why do they stop growing? Why are they so distinct from the surrounding rock or sediments?

Researchers - Nagoya - University - Method - Concretions

Now, researchers led by Nagoya University have developed a method to analyze concretions using L-shaped "cross-plot diagrams" of diffusion and growth rate, reported in a new study published in Scientific Reports. With this method, they analyzed dozens of concretions from three sites across Japan and compared them with concretions from England and New Zealand.

The results of this new study dramatically impact understanding of the rate at which concretions form. "Until now, the formation of spherical carbonate concretions was thought to take hundreds of thousands to millions of years," co-author Koshi Yamamoto says. "However, our results show that concretions grow at a very fast rate over several months to several years." This rapid sealing mechanism could explain why some concretions contain well-preserved fossils of soft tissues that are...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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