2023 Volume 129 Issue 1 Pages 145-151
Carbonate concretions occur in sedimentary rocks of widely varying geological ages throughout the world. Recently, more than 100 gigantic carbonate concretions with diameters ranging from 1 to 9 m have been identified along the Unosaki coast of Oga Peninsula, Akita Prefecture, Japan. The formation process of such gigantic concretions, some of which along the Unosaki coast contain whale bones, remains uncertain. A mineral composition analysis reveals that the major mineral of the concretions is dolomite. Considering the location of dolomite precipitation, their composition implies that the concretions were formed in a reducing environment in which sulfate ions were removed. Stable carbon and oxygen isotopic analysis reveals that the CaCO3 of whale bone and concretions contains light δ13C and heavy δ18O, suggesting that whale organic matter contributed to the formation of the concretions. The gigantic carbonate concretions were presumably formed by the accumulation and burial of whale carcasses with high sedimentation rates, and subsequent reaction of carbon decomposed by benthic and microbial activity with seawater.