Reduce or recycle? Revealing source to sink links through integrated zircon–feldspar provenance fingerprinting

Milo Barham, Christopher L. Kirkland, Jussi Hovikoski, Peter Alsen, Julie Hollis, Shane Tyrrell

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The geochemical character of detrital mineral grains carries information that can be used to track sediment generation and transport within the broader context of basin development and crustal evolution. Many provenance studies focus on single minerals, which, as a consequence of different source fertility, survivorship and sediment sample representativeness, generate bias and consequently potentially skew geological interpretations. While a range of approaches has been proposed to either quantify or mitigate some of these biases, a significant limitation associated with the most commonly employed provenance proxy – zircon – remains that the grains are remarkably robust and capable of surviving numerous cycles of erosion, deposition and uplift. Here, same-sample integration of zircon and feldspar provenance information is used to propose a sediment recycling metric ‘R’. This metric quantifies the degree of relative recycling of distinctive source components through comparison of provenance proxies with similar source region fertilities but different survivorship potential. This approach is applied to a case study of several thousand new zircon U-Pb ages and K-feldspar Pb-isotope ratios from 25 Carboniferous to Palaeogene clastic samples from the poorly studied Wollaston Forland–Clavering Ø region in hydrocarbon prospective north-east Greenland. Concordant detrital zircon populations are dominated by Palaeoproterozoic (ca 1.9 to 1.8 Ga) grains (>60%), with more minor Palaeozoic, Neo-Mesoproterozoic and Archean subpopulations. Feldspar grain Pb-isotope ratios almost entirely (>>60%) correspond to Caledonian granites (ca 0.4 Ga). Zircon and feldspar provenance proxies appear decoupled as a consequence of: (i) limited resolvable growth of zircon within Caledonian granites, and more importantly; (ii) significant upgrading of recycled zircon components via rift flanking sedimentary basins. Collectively, the integration of detrital mineral proxies with disparate survivorship potentials through sediment cycles (labile first cycle feldspar versus potentially polycyclic zircon) is essential to facilitate more nuanced definition of sediment source regions, routing pathways and basin evolution.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)531-556
    Number of pages26
    JournalSedimentology
    Volume68
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

    Keywords

    • Detrital
    • K-feldspar
    • LA-ICP-MS
    • Pb-isotopes
    • recycling
    • U-Pb

    Programme Area

    • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources

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