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Tectonic and climate control on allochthonous bauxite deposition. Example from the mid-Cretaceous Villeveyrac basin, southern France

Emmanuelle Chanvry 1 Emilie Marchand 2, 1 Michel Lopez 1 Michel Séranne 1 Gwenn Le Saout 3 Marc Vinches 2 
2 ERT - IMT Mines Alès - Eau, Ressources, Territoires
LGEI - Laboratoire de Génie de l'Environnement Industriel et des Risques Industriels et Naturels
3 DMS - Durabilité des éco-Matériaux et Structures
LMGC - Laboratoire de Mécanique et Génie Civil, IMT - MINES ALES - IMT - MINES ALES
Abstract : Karst bauxite deposits represent 11% of the global quantity of bauxite (Bardossy and Aleva, 1990). Karst Bauxite is defined as bauxite deposits overlying carbonate rocks above a more or less karstified surface. Allochtonous karst bauxites result from two successive processes: (1) intense weathering and formation of a lateritic profile, involving the development of bauxitic and duricrust horizons; and (2) erosion of the lateritic profile and deposition above a carbonate unit located downstream. In the Villeveyrac basin (southern France), Lower to Mid-Albian allochtonous karstic bauxites are deposited on a Jurassic karstified bedrock, and are overlain by a Late Albian marine siliciclastic cover. A drillcore, sampling the substratum, the bauxites and their cover, is analyzed and offers the opportunity to investigate the depositional conditions and interactions of climate and tectonic during the mid- to late Cretaceous, through the analysis of mechanical and chemical weathering evidence. Sedimentological study allowed the definition of four bauxite facies and three siliciclastic cover facies, overprinted by four different pedofacies. Mineralogical and geochemical analyses allowed the distinction of four mineralogical units controlled by climate-related weathering processes. The bauxite deposits emplaced by mud-flow/debris-flow gravity currents are composed by boehmite-hematite and goethite. The top of the bauxite presents a progressive upward decrease in Al2O3 and TiO2 associated with the occurrence of kaolinite. The base of the cover that overlies the bauxite interval corresponds to a paralic environment, dominated by kaolinite, with a sub-ferricrete paleosol. The following paralic sequence presents a clay-rich suite dominated by smectite, associated with mica/illite and quartz, which suggests aridification of climate around the latest Albian. We interpret this sedimentary succession as the result of erosion of an autochthonous laterite cover, induced by major tectonic uplift in the upstream drainage area, which led to a significant increase in slope gradient, under a wet tropical climate. Mechanical erosion of autochthonous laterite bauxite in the upstream drainage led to a reverse stacking of the reworked autochthonous lateritic profile in the depositional basin. A continuous transgressive trend was responsible for trapping of the allochtonous karst bauxite. This was followed by stacking of siliciclastic paralic sequences, which record progressive erosion of the bedrock in the upstream drainage area, under dry tropical conditions. Our results thus suggest that dismantling of the autochthonous laterite cover was initiated by Albian uplift and this ended with a change towards drier and more seasonal climate at the Albian-Cenomanian transition.
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Emmanuelle Chanvry, Emilie Marchand, Michel Lopez, Michel Séranne, Gwenn Le Saout, et al.. Tectonic and climate control on allochthonous bauxite deposition. Example from the mid-Cretaceous Villeveyrac basin, southern France. Sedimentary Geology, Elsevier, 2020, 407, pp.105727. ⟨10.1016/j.sedgeo.2020.105727⟩. ⟨hal-02913633⟩



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