Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Weathering and Relative Durability of Detrital Minerals in Equatorial Climate: Sand Petrology and Geochemistry in the East African Rift

Eduardo Garzanti, Marta Padoan, Sergio Andò, Alberto Resentini, Giovanni Vezzoli and Michele Lustrino
The Journal of Geology
Vol. 121, No. 6 (November 2013), pp. 547-580
DOI: 10.1086/673259
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673259
Page Count: 34
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Weathering and Relative Durability of Detrital Minerals in Equatorial Climate: Sand Petrology and Geochemistry in the East African Rift
Preview not available

Abstract

AbstractThis article investigates how, where, and to what extent the mineralogical and chemical composition of sand-sized sediments is modified by extreme weathering in modern equatorial settings, with the ultimate goal of learning to read climate from the sedimentary record. To single out the weathering effect, we studied the compositional trends of fluvial sands along the western branch of the East African Rift between 5°S and 5°N. The relative durability of different detrital components, as well as potential hydraulic-sorting and grain-size effects, were assessed by comparing samples with similar provenances in different climatic and environmental conditions or of different size classes within the same sample. Sands of equatorial central Africa at the headwaters of the Congo and Nile basins display the full spectrum of petrologic suites characterizing rift-shoulder and volcanic rift provenances. Unlike in arid Arabia, quartzose sands are not restricted to areas where detritus is recycled from prerift sedimentary covers. In a hot humid climate, weathering can effectively obliterate the fingerprint of parent rock lithology and produce a nearly pure quartz residue even where midcrustal basement rocks are being actively uplifted and widely unroofed. In such settings garnet is destroyed faster than hornblende, and zircon faster than quartz. Weathering control on detrital modes is minor only in the rain shadow of the highest mountains or volcanoes, where amphibole-dominated quartzofelicdspathic metamorphiclastic sands (Rwenzori Province) or clinopyroxene-dominated feldspatholithic volcaniclastic sands (Virunga Province) are generated. Our detailed study of the Kagera basin emphasizes the importance of weathering in soils at the source rather than of progressive maturation in temporary storage sites during stepwise transport and shows that the transformation of diverse parent rocks into a quartzose “white sand” may be completed in one sedimentary cycle in hydromorphic soils of subequatorial lowlands. Micas and heavy minerals, which are less effectively diluted by recycling than main framework components, offer the best key to identify the original source-rock imprint. The different behavior of chemical indexes such as the CIA (a truer indicator of weathering) and the WIP (markedly affected by quartz dilution) helps us to distinguish strongly weathered first-cycle versus polycyclic quartz sands.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
1
    1
  • Thumbnail: Page 
2
    2
  • Thumbnail: Page 
3
    3
  • Thumbnail: Page 
4
    4
  • Thumbnail: Page 
5
    5
  • Thumbnail: Page 
6
    6
  • Thumbnail: Page 
7
    7
  • Thumbnail: Page 
8
    8
  • Thumbnail: Page 
9
    9
  • Thumbnail: Page 
10
    10
  • Thumbnail: Page 
11
    11
  • Thumbnail: Page 
12
    12
  • Thumbnail: Page 
13
    13
  • Thumbnail: Page 
14
    14
  • Thumbnail: Page 
15
    15
  • Thumbnail: Page 
16
    16
  • Thumbnail: Page 
17
    17
  • Thumbnail: Page 
18
    18
  • Thumbnail: Page 
19
    19
  • Thumbnail: Page 
20
    20
  • Thumbnail: Page 
21
    21
  • Thumbnail: Page 
22
    22
  • Thumbnail: Page 
23
    23
  • Thumbnail: Page 
24
    24
  • Thumbnail: Page 
25
    25
  • Thumbnail: Page 
26
    26
  • Thumbnail: Page 
27
    27
  • Thumbnail: Page 
28
    28
  • Thumbnail: Page 
29
    29
  • Thumbnail: Page 
30
    30
  • Thumbnail: Page 
31
    31
  • Thumbnail: Page 
32
    32
  • Thumbnail: Page 
33
    33
  • Thumbnail: Page 
34
    34