A three-layer horizon of silicate-rich rock exposed in the Bjørntvet limestone quarry in Porsgrunn has been identified as a metabentonite. Its total thickness is 75 cm, it has a dark green-grey colour and each sub-layer is 25 cm thick. Sedimentary structures are visible and there is no evidence that the siliceous material was deposited by clastic sedimentation or intruded. The boundaries between each sub-layer and the contact between the metabentonite and the limestone are conformable, sharp and depicted by bands of white calcite. The metabentonite belongs to the Steinsfjorden Formation, an Upper Silurian unit of the Oslo Region. The Steinsfjorden Formation is the youngest Wenlock unit exposed in the area and is conformably overlain by the Ringerike Group. In this area the Steinsfjorden Formation is approximately 140 m thick, and the metabentonite lies 40 m above its base. On the basis of a limited microfossil fauna, including conodonts and scolecondonts, the metabentonite is of Late Wenlock to Early Ludlow age. Each sub-layer is dominated by quartz, calcite and plagioclase, with smaller quantities of orthoclase, biotite, muscovite, chlorite, epidote, amphibole and pyroxene. This mineral assemblage grew during contact metamorphism of the rock due to emplacement of the larvikite complex to the southeast. The whole-rock chemistry of the bands suggests that they are derived from calc-alkaline dacitic magma, erupted in a volcanic arc setting. Correlation between this metabentonite and other Silurian bentonites in Norway and Scandinavia is discussed.
The Bjørntvet metabentonite: A new correlation tool for the Silurian of the southwest Oslo Region