Several travertine deposits dating to the Pleistocene outcrop along the Tiber valley between Orte and Rome. Mineralogically, they are mainly composed of calcite; various lithofacies (stromatolitic, phytoclastic, and massive) were identified and relatively wide ranges of carbon (δ13C −8.11 to +11.42‰ vs. VPDB) and oxygen (δ18O +22.74 to +27.71‰ vs. VSMOW) isotope compositions were measured. The isotope and chemical compositions of water and free gases, in some cases associated with the travertines, were also measured. Carbon isotope data show that several samples fall in the typical range of thermogenic travertine, i.e., linked to the addition of deep inorganic CO2. The oxygen isotope composition of the springs associated with the travertine deposits points to travertine precipitation by slightly thermal water of meteoric origin. In general, these travertines are in association with, or close to, mineralised groundwaters (with slightly acidic pH, low thermalism, and enrichment in sulphates or sodium chloride) and rich CO2 gas emissions, the origin of which may be linked to decarbonation reactions. The travertine bodies are locally connected with crustal structural lineaments favouring the circulation of ascending deep CO2-rich fluids. Conversely, some samples show isotopic connotations of meteogenic deposits, representing travertines formed mainly from soil biogenic or atmospheric carbon dioxide generally present in shallow groundwater or surface water. According to their morphology and isotope data, these travertines may be attributed to the sedimentary environment of waterfalls. These new geochemical and morphological data are integrated with those already available in the literature regarding the study area and contribute to shedding light on palaeo-environmental conditions in western-central Italy during the Quaternary.
International Journal of Earth Sciences – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 7, 2017
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