Travé, A., Rodríguez-Morillas, N., Baqués, V., Playà, E., Casas, L., Cantarero, I., Martín-Martín, J. D., Gómez-Rivas, E., Moragas, M., & Cruset, D. (2021). Origin of the Coloured Karst Fills in the Neogene Extensional System of NE Iberia (Spain). In Minerals (Vol. 11, Issue 12).


Karst fills from the onshore Penedès Basin and offshore València Trough display red, pink, orange and ochre colours. Their Mössbauer spectra indicate that Fe3+ contained in goethite is the dominant species in reddish-pink fills, whereas Fe2+ contained in dolomite and clays is more dominant in the orange and ochre ones. The lower δ13C values and higher 87Sr/86Sr ratios of the karst fills with respect to their host carbonates can reflect the input of soil-derived CO2 and an external radiogenic source into the karst system. This geochemical composition, together with the non-carbonate fraction of the fills, consists of authigenic and transported illite, illite-smectite interlayers, as well as kaolinite, chlorite, pyrite, quartz, ilmenite, magnetite, apatite and feldspar, account for a mixed residual-detrital origin of fills. This polygenic origin agrees with that of the terra rossa sediments described worldwide. The different colours of karst fills are attributed to fluctuations in the water table, which control the Eh/pH conditions in the karst system. Thus, reddish colours reflect low water table levels and oxidising episodes, and orange and ochre ones reflect high water table levels and more reducing episodes. The greenish colours of fills could be related to fluctuations in the Fe3+/Fe2+ ratio.

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