Geochemistry and weathering history of the Balfour sandstone formation, Karoo basin, South Africa: Insight to provenance and tectonic setting

30 Oct 2019

Geochemical analysis on sandstones from clastic sediments was carried out to understand the tectonic setting and subsequent post-depositional change in the Karoo basinal fill of the fluvial deposits of the Balfour Formation during the Late Permian to Early Triassic period. The major and trace element analysis reveal a relatively homogeneous provenance for the sandstones. The geochemical analysis shows that these rocks are first order mature sediments, derived from igneous and/or meta-igneous rocks of a felsic composition. The results show that the sandstone consists of SiO2 (71.58wt. %), followed by Al2O3 (14.48wt. %), but with low contents of Fe2O3+MgO (4.09 wt. %) and TiO2 (0.47wt. %). These sandstones are classified as litharenites and arkoses based on the elements constituent ratio of various schemed adopted. The sandstone in the provenance discrimination diagramplotsinthedissected andtransitionalarc fieldssuggesting anactive marginandcontinental island arc provenance, preserving the signature of a recycled provenance. The Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA) ranging from 63.56 to 67.10% suggests recycling processes, and that the source area has undergone a moderate degree of chemical weathering. The geochemical characteristics of the sediment suggest the source area of uplifted terrane of folded and faulted strata with detritus of sedimentary and metasedimentary origin