Genesis of submerged sandstones in Paraná State continental shelf, Southern Brazil, based on cementation patterns, ages and stable isotopes
Keywords:Methane-derived carbonates, beachrocks, submerged sandstones, continental shelf, sea-level indicators
Beachrocks are a common feature along the Brazilian coast and although their occurrence in intertidal zones is concentrated in tropical regions, similar formations have been described submerged on the continental shelf in subtropical regions. In the state of Paraná, submerged sandstones are present on the continental shelf and their formation could be associated with the cementation of beach sediments. This would provide an excellent indicator of the stabilization of the coastline during lower sea-level periods. In this study, samples were identified and collected in Paraná State, Southern Brazil, at depths between 18 and 33 meters in the continental shelf and at 6 meters depth in the Paranaguá Bay inlet. As in situ observations proved problematic, analysis relied mainly on their petrography, mineralogy, ages and isotopic values (δ13C and δ18O). Whole rock dating demonstrated that the oldest acquired sample was formed 28109-26406 cal. years BP, being exposed to atmospheric conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum. This exposure is reflected in its cements, composed uniquely of microcrystalline and spar calcite, and on its δ18O/δ13C values, which indicates formation on a fresh water environment. Contrarily to most carbonate cemented products described along Brazilian coastline, δ13C values ranged between -26.36 and -51.07‰ on all other samples, interpreted as a result of cement precipitation prompted by methane, either: in a paleo-estuarine/ paleo-lagunar to transgressive environment buried under a pile of coarser material or; after transgression and drowning of organic-rich sediments by coarser sediments, and due to upward migration of methane on the sedimentary column. Both processes would result in cements identified on these samples, apart from the one collected closer to shore which indicates some freshwater influence. Two of the samples separated by 15km distance perpendicularly to the actual coastline and 11m depth difference yielded max and minimum ages of 7913 and 7452 cal. years BP. Such a short time span between these samples could be either the result of their formation on a linked environment or older carbon signature from drowned environments being present on younger cements.