Jurassic Fe-Mn macro-oncoids from pelagic swells of the External Subbetic (Spain): evidences of microbial origin


  • L.M. NIETO


Controlled source electromagnetics, Robust processing, Response functions, Phase difference


Ferromanganesiferous macro-oncoids are distinctive from the External Subbetic Zone (Betic Cordillera, SE Spain) in relation to a major heterochronic unconformity, with a Middle Bathonian-Lower Oxfordian minimum hiatus and a Lowest Bathonian-Lowest Kimmeridgian maximum hiatus. The Fe-Mn macro-oncoids (43 mm mean-size) consist of microbial laminae with planar and arborescent to dendrolitic morphologies. Under petrographic microscopy, the planar morphologies are made up by condensed fibrillar meshworks whereas the dendrolitic ones are similar to Frutexites. Alternation between these two types of laminae reveals a rhythmic growth in the Fe-Mn macro-oncoids. Bacterial and fungal filaments are observed in SEM analyses as microbial mats constituted by a disperse web of filaments exhibiting a branching tube-like morphology with diameters ranging between 2 and 10 μm. Aggregates of coccoid-shaped forms are also registered by SEM analyses. Taxonomical approximation of the microbiota is complex, though in the thin section the condensed fibrillar meshworks look like cyanobacteria, and in SEM images the morphology of the filaments resembles fungal hyphae and green algae, whereas coccoids are assigned to cyanobacteria. The precipitation of Fe-Mn is related to the chemoorganotrophic behaviour of the benthic microbial communities, probably corresponding to the fungal mats and other chemosynthetic microbes. Inorganic precipitation mechanisms are regarded as insufficient for the accumulation of a significant amount of MnO. An efficient precipitation of Mn from natural water largely depended on the presence of Mn-oxidizing microorganisms. Sediment-starved zones of pelagic swells of the External Subbetic, located in the deep euphotic zone, were the best places for microbially mediated authigenesis.







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