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Authigenic‐cemented pebbles formed during Pleisto–Holocene transgression of gently inclined coastal plains
Wetzel, A.; Niemann, H. (2023). Authigenic‐cemented pebbles formed during Pleisto–Holocene transgression of gently inclined coastal plains. Sedimentology 71(2): 486-508.
In: Sedimentology. Wiley-Blackwell: Amsterdam. ISSN 0037-0746; e-ISSN 1365-3091, meer
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Anaerobic oxidation of methane; neritic environment; siliciclastic coasts; transgression

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  • Wetzel, A.
  • Niemann, H., meer

    From numerous modern gently inclined coastal areas and deltas around the world carbonate-cemented sandstone slabs and pebbles have been reported. Such sandstones collected at the coast of the German North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea (Rhône Delta) are cemented by calcite derived from the anaerobic oxidation of methane, as evidenced by biomarkers and δ13C isotope values <−35‰ typical of anaerobic oxidation of methane. The methane originated from peat, which formed in coastal lowlands, deltas and channels during the Pleisto–Holocene transgression due to the concomitant rise of the groundwater level. During ongoing transgression, the peat became overlain by marginal-marine mud, acting as a seal, and finally by marine sand. In shallow-marine settings, wave-pumping effects during storms led to seal failure and methane could migrate upward. This scenario matches recent observations in the German North Sea where a pockmark field formed during the winter storm season. The emanating methane was eventually oxidized aerobically or anaerobically by anaerobic oxidation of methane in the sand cover. The CH4 generated in the peat underneath contains ‘old’ carbon that becomes, in the case of anaerobic oxidation of methane, incorporated into bicarbonate, which in turn facilitates cementation of sand and, thus, causes the peculiar situation that the C-14 age of the cement is older than the bioclasts embedded in the sandstone. Such authigenically cemented sandstones have environmental significance for flooding of gently inclined coastal plains.

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