The Lower Silurian Osmundsberg K-bentonite is a widespread ash bed that occurs throughout Baltoscandia and parts of northern Europe. This paper describes its characteristics at its type locality in the Province of Dalarna, Sweden. It contains mineralogical and chemical characteristics that permit its regional correlation in sections elsewhere in Sweden as well as Norway, Estonia, Denmark and Great Britain. The < 2 ??m clay fraction of the Osmundsberg bed contains abundant kaolinite in addition to randomly ordered (RO) illite/smectite (I/S). Modelling of the X-ray diffraction tracings showed the I/S consists of 18% illite and 82 % smectite. The high smectite and kaolinite content is indicative of a history with minimal burial temperatures. Analytical data from both pristine melt inclusions in primary quartz grains as well as whole rock samples can be used to constrain both the parental magma composition and the probable tectonic setting of the source volcanoes. The parental ash was dacitic to rhyolitic in composition and originated in a tectonically active collision margin setting. Whole rock chemical fingerprinting of coeval beds elsewhere in Baltoscandia produced a pronounced clustering of these samples in the Osmundsberg field of the discriminant analysis diagram. This, together with well-constrained biostratigraphic and lithostratigraphic data, provides the basis for regional correlation and supports the conclusion that the Osmundsberg K-bentonite is one of the most extensive fallout ash beds in the early Phanerozoic. The source volcano probably lay to the west of Baltica as part of the subduction complex associated with the closure of Iapetus.
Additional publication details
The Lower Silurian Osmundsberg K-bentonite. Part II: Mineralogy, geochemistry, chemostratigraphy and tectonomagmatic significance