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Basin scale evolution of zebra textures in fault-controlled, hydrothermal dolomite bodies: insights from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin

Faculty Advisor




clumped isotope thermometry, fault-controlled dolomitization, rare earth element analysis, recrystallization, saddle dolomite, zebra texture

Abstract (summary)

Structurally controlled dolomitization typically involves the interaction of high-pressure (P), high-temperature (T) fluids with the surrounding host rock. Such reactions are often accompanied by cementation and recrystallization, with the resulting hydrothermal dolomite (HTD) bodies including several ‘diagnostic’ rock textures. Zebra textures, associated with boxwork textures and dolomite breccias, are widely considered to reflect these elevated P/T conditions. Although a range of conceptual models have been proposed to explain the genesis of these rock textures, the processes that control their spatial and temporal evolution are still poorly understood. Through the detailed petrographical and geochemical analysis of HTD bodies, hosted in the Middle Cambrian strata in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin, this study demonstrates that a single genetic model cannot be applied to all the characteristics of these rock textures. Instead, a wide array of sedimentological, tectonic and metasomatic processes contribute to their formation; each of which is spatially and temporally variable at the basin scale. Distal to the fluid source, dolomitization is largely stratabound, comprising replacement dolomite, bedding-parallel zebra textures and rare dolomite breccias (non-stratabound, located only proximal to faults). Dolomitization is increasingly non-stratabound with proximity to the fluid source, comprising bedding-inclined zebra textures, boxwork textures and dolomite breccias that have been affected by recrystallization. Petrographical and geochemical evidence suggests that these rock textures were initiated due to dilatational fracturing, brecciation and precipitation of saddle dolomite as a cement, but significant recrystallization occurred during the later stages of dolomitization. These rock textures are closely associated with faults and carbonate-hosted ore deposits (e.g. magnesite, rare earth element and Mississippi Valley–type mineralization), thus providing invaluable information regarding fluid flux and carbonate metasomatism under elevated P/T conditions.

Publication Information

McCormick, C. A., Corlett, H., Clog, M., Boyce, A. J., Tartèse, R., Steele-MacInnis, M., & Hollis, C. (2023). Basin scale evolution of zebra textures in fault-controlled, hydrothermal dolomite bodies: Insights from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. Basin Research, 00, 1– 30.


Item Type




Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)