OPEN Scientific reports | 13 Jan 2018
MT Batchelor, RV Burne, BI Henry, F Li and J Paul
Ooids are typically spherical sediment grains characterised by concentric layers encapsulating a core. There is no universally accepted explanation for ooid genesis, though factors such as agitation, abiotic and/or microbial mineralisation and size limitation have been variously invoked. Here we examine the possible influence of microbial organomineralisation on the formation of some naturally occurring ooids. We develop a mathematical model for ooid growth, inspired by work on avascular brain tumours, that assumes mineralisation in a biofilm to form a central core which then nucleates the progressive growth of concentric laminations. The model predicts a limiting size with the sequential width variation of growth rings comparing favourably with those observed in experimentally grown ooids generated from biomicrospheres. In reality, this model pattern may be complicated during growth by syngenetic aggrading neomorphism of the unstable mineral phase, followed by diagenetic recrystallisation that further complicates the structure. Our model provides a potential key to understanding the genetic archive preserved in the internal structures of some ooids.
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