• First Report on the Geologic Occurrence of Natural Na–A Zeolite and Associated Minerals in Cretaceous Mudstones of the Paja Formation of Vélez (Santander), Colombia

      Ríos-Reyes, Carlos Alberto; Reyes-Mendoza, German Alfonso; Henao-Martínez, José Antonio; Williams, Craig; Dyer, Alan (MDPI, 2021-02-22)
      This study reports for the first time the geologic occurrence of natural zeolite A and associated minerals in mudstones from the Cretaceous Paja Formation in the urban area of the municipality of Vélez (Santander), Colombia. These rocks are mainly composed of quartz, muscovite, pyrophyllite, kaolinite and chlorite group minerals, framboidal and cubic pyrite, as well as marcasite, with minor feldspar, sulphates, and phosphates. Total organic carbon (TOC), total sulfur (TS), and millimeter fragments of algae are high, whereas few centimeters and not biodiverse small ammonite fossils, and other allochemical components are subordinated. Na–A zeolite and associated mineral phases as sodalite occur just beside the interparticle micropores (honeycomb from framboidal, cube molds, and amorphous cavities). It is facilitated by petrophysical properties alterations, due to processes of high diagenesis, temperatures up to 80–100 °C, with weathering contributions, which increase the porosity and permeability, as well as the transmissivity (fluid flow), allowing the geochemistry remobilization and/or recrystallization of pre-existing silica, muscovite, kaolinite minerals group, salts, carbonates, oxides and peroxides. X-ray diffraction analyses reveal the mineral composition of the mudstones and scanning electron micrographs show the typical cubic morphology of Na–A zeolite of approximately 0.45 mμ in particle size. Our data show that the sequence of the transformation of phases is: Poorly crystalline aluminosilicate → sodalite → Na–A zeolite. A literature review shows that this is an unusual example of the occurrence of natural zeolites in sedimentary marine rocks recognized around the world.