Heavy Minerals and Geochemical Characteristics of Sandstones as Indices of Provenance and Source Area Tectonics of the Ogwashi-Asaba Formation, Niger Delta Basin


Heavy mineral petrographic and geochemical compositions (major and trace/rare earth elements) of sandstones obtained from the Oligocene-Miocene Ogwashi-Asaba Formation, Niger Delta were studied to determine their provenance, source area weathering conditions and tectonic setting. The heavy mineral suite (opaque minerals, zircon, tourmaline, and rutile) revealed that the sandstones are mineralogically mature and implied rapid disintegration and chemical decomposition of sediments mostly of recycled orogen. The sandstones were geochemically classified as Fe-sand and partly quartz arenitic. Chemical Index of Alteration and Chemical Index of Weathering values of 89.92% and 91.87% respectively suggest that the source region was predominantly felsic and was subjected to intense chemical weathering probably under tropical palaeoclimatic conditions with abundant rainfall that enhanced sediment recycling. Major element concentration discriminant plots also indicated that the sediments were derived from mixed sources (granitic, gneissic or recycled orogen) under passive margin setting. Chondrite normalized plot of the rare earth element pattern is marked by light rare earth element enrichment and negative Eu anomalies, interpreted to mean that provenance was mainly continental crustal rocks. Trace elemental ratios that are provenance diagnostic (La/Sc, Th/Sc, Cr/Th, La/Co, Th/Co, Th/Cr, Eu/Eu*, and Eu*) all point to sediments derived from felsic source and upper continental crust. The mixed provenance of the sandstones can be traced to the southwestern and southeastern Basement Complex (consisting of granites, gneisses, etc.) and sediments derived from the adjacent sedimentary basins (Anambra and Benue Trough).

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Ejeh, O. , Akpoborie, I. and Etobro, A. (2015) Heavy Minerals and Geochemical Characteristics of Sandstones as Indices of Provenance and Source Area Tectonics of the Ogwashi-Asaba Formation, Niger Delta Basin. Open Journal of Geology, 5, 562-576. doi: 10.4236/ojg.2015.58051.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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