Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences




This paper investigates the mineralogy, geochemistry, and depositional environment of Late Miocene/Pliocene fluviolacustrine deposits, including multiple ignimbrite levels and andesitic and basaltic lavas, within the Cappadocian Volcanic Province (CVP) of central Anatolia, Turkey. Palaeosols and calcretes formed within these terrestrial sedimentary rocks under near-surface or surface conditions. The palaeosols are composed predominantly of smectite ± illite with feldspar, quartz, calcite, opal-CT, and amphibole, and the calcretes mainly of calcite with minor feldspar, quartz, and accessory smectite ± palygorskite. The palygorskite occurs on and between the calcite crystals in the calcretes and at the edges of smectite flakes within the palaeosols, indicating an in situ formation from evaporated alkaline water rich in Si and Mg and poor in Al under arid or seasonally arid climatic conditions. In the palaeosols and calcretes, negative Ba, Nb, Ce, Sr, and Ti anomalies and an enrichment of light rare earth elements relative to medium rare earth elements and heavy rare earth elements, with a distinct negative Eu anomaly, likely reflect the alteration of feldspars and amphiboles in the ignimbrite. The alteration of the ignimbrites caused the depletion of SiO_2, Al_2O_3+Fe_2O_3, TiO_2, and K_2O through the precipitation of smectite ± illite in the palaeosols and CaO in the form of calcite in the calcretes. The delta^{18}O values of the calcretes and limestones range from –8.71‰ to –10.71‰, which are mainly related to the involvement of high-elevation meteoric water, whereas the delta^{13}C values for the same rocks vary between –1.97‰ and 5.71‰. The positive delta^{13}C values for the limestones reflect calcite precipitation in isotopic equilibrium with meteoric water in a lake. The slightly negative delta^{13}C values of the lacustrine limestone carbonates may indicate precipitation from a relatively thick water column and an inflow of surface or groundwater through the ignimbrites with high Ba/Sr values. Conversely, the calcrete delta^{13}C values (3.0‰ to 4.97‰) may suggest a pedogenic origin with low plant respiration rates and a predominance of C_4 plants. Based on stable oxygen isotope values from the lake sediments and calcretes, this study suggests that the global warming trend that followed the Late Miocene continued into the Pliocene within the CVP.

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