Phosphorite research and development by Arthur John George Notholt, Geological Society of London

By Arthur John George Notholt, Geological Society of London

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By Arthur John George Notholt, Geological Society of London

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1964) suggested a structural relationship for the phosphate deposits in central Florida. They believe that the 'reworked phosphorites' of the Bone Valley Formation were derived from the underlying 'weathered residuum and limestone' of the Miocene Hawthorn Formation and were redeposited in shallow-water, marine and estuarine environments by a major marine transgression. Within central Florida, Riggs (1967, 1979a) clearly demonstrated the primary sedimentological and stratigraphic relationships of the Miocene and Pliocene phosphorites, and suggested that their marine formation and deposition was intimately controlled by changing conditions within highly variable depositional environments determined by the palaeotopography.

The importance of global factors such as sea-level changes and plate tectonics, and their interaction with the processes of phosphate formation has become better understood in recent years, and links between periods of phosphogenesis and major evolutionary changes have also been established. The following contribution by McClellan & van Kauwenberg on the mineralogy of sedimentary carbonate fluorapatites (francolite) emphasizes the importance of CO32- substitution for PO43-, variations in francolite composition with stratigraphical position and particle size as possibly indicators of the extent and type of post-depositional alteration.

Very low accumulation rates (210 m Ma-1) are indicated, for example, by the occurrence, on the Alpine Helvetic Shelf, of condensed phosphatic beds of Aptian to early Cenomanian age, formed within a stable westward-flowing current system along the northern Tethyan margin (Föllmi). These beds are thin, generally less than 50 cm, and consist of closely Page vii packed phosphatic particles and crudely laminated crusts embedded in glauconitic sands, marls, and pelagic micrites. In spite of a considerable increase in data, divergent views continue to be expressed on the precise mechanism of phosphate precipitation.

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