This study evaluates examples of hydrothermal dolomitization in the Middle Cambrian Cathedral Formation of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Kilometre-scale dolomite bodies within the Cathedral Formation carbonate platform are composed of replacement dolomite (RD), with saddle dolomite cemented (SDC) breccias occurring along faults. These are overlain by the Stephen Formation (Burgess Shale equivalent) shale. RD is crosscut by low-amplitude stylolites cemented by SDC, indicating that dolomitization occurred at very shallow depths (<1 km) during the Middle Cambrian. Clumped isotope data from RD and SDC indicate that dolomitizing fluid temperatures were >230°C, demonstrating that dolomitization occurred from hydrothermal fluids. Assuming a geothermal gradient of 40°C/km, due to rift related basin-extension, fluids likely convected along faults that extended to ~6 km depth. The negative cerium anomalies of RD indicate that seawater was involved in the earliest phases of replacement dolomitization. 84Kr/36Ar and 132Xe/36Ar data are consistent with serpentinite derived fluids, which became more dominant during later phases of replacement dolomitization/SDC precipitation. The elevated 87Sr/86Sr of dolomite phases, and their co-occurrence with authigenic quartz and albite, likely reflects fluid interaction with K-feldspar in the underlying Gog Group before ascending faults to regionally dolomitize the Cathedral Formation. In summary, these results demonstrate the important role of a basal clastic aquifer in regional-scale fluid circulation during hydrothermal dolomitization. Furthermore, the presence of the Stephen Formation shale above the platform facilitated the build-up of fluid pressure during the final phase of dolomitization, leading to the formation of saddle dolomite cemented breccias at much shallower depths than previously realised.
|Journal||Geological Society of America Bulletin|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 16 Dec 2020|