Basin-to-platform chemostratigraphy and diagenesis of the Early Cretaceous Vercors Carbonate Platform, SE France

Bruce W. Fouke, Wolfgang Schlager, Maurice G.M. Vandamme, Jorijntje Henderiks, Branko Van Hilten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cathodoluminescence petrography has been combined with bulk-rock and micro-sampled 87Sr/86Sr, δ18O and δ13C analyses to reconstruct the diagenetic history of Lower Cretaceous (Barremian) limestones exposed at the southern margin of the Vercors carbonate platform in southeastern France. Stratigraphic and geographic trends in these analyses, coupled with mass balance water-rock interaction modeling, have been used to constrain the chemical composition, source, and relative timing of the groundwaters responsible for diagenetic alteration. This study was completed on the Montagnette outcrop, which is composed of two stacked 70-m-thick units of prograding platform-margin limestones that interfinger with marly basinal sediments. The Montagnette exposure is exceptional, in that it is a single complete outcrop of basin-to-platform limestones that are preserved in their original lateral depositional continuity. Cathodoluminescence petrography indicates that the limestones have experienced a complex sequence of carbonate dissolution, precipitation, and fracturing events. Over one hundred bulk-rock and micro-sampled 87Sr/86Sr, δ18 δ13C analyses were completed to characterize each major event of deposition and diagenesis. Bulk-rock analyses from the Montagnette basin-to-platform transect exhibited no significant variations in 87Sr/86Sr (0.707523 to 0.707555). These values are consistent with estimated Barremian seawater 87Sr/86Sr ratios. In contrast, micro-sampled shell material in the platform margin and platform top deposits exhibit large variations in 87Sr/86Sr (0.706910 to 0.707450). The least radiogenic Sr (lowest 87Sr/86Sr) occurs in shell material located toward the platform, while the more seawater-like ratios occur in sections without shells that are located toward the basin. This pattern implies that selective diagenetic alteration of the shell material took place after basinal brines flowed up into the platform and spread out laterally. The Sr in the diagenetic waters was probably derived from water-rock interaction with Jurassic basinal sediments in the Vocontian Trough. This conclusion is based on: (1) the extremely low 87Sr/86Sr composition of shell material in the platform limestone; (2) modeled co-variation trends in 87Sr/86Sr, δ13C, and δ18O; and (3) the absence of another nearby source of less-radiogenic Sr in the Vercors region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-314
Number of pages18
JournalSedimentary Geology
Issue number1-4 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005


  • Carbon-isotope
  • Carbonate platform
  • Chemostratigraphy
  • Oxygen-isotope
  • Strontium-isotope
  • Water-rock interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy

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