Interactions between grain size and composition of sediments: two examples

Eynatten, Hilmar von
Tolosana Delgado, Raimon
Triebold, S.
Zack, T.
Two contrasting case studies of sediment and detrital mineral composition are investigated in order to outline interactions between chemical composition and grain size. Modern glacial sediments exhibit a strong dependence of the two parameters due to the preferential enrichment of mafic minerals, especially biotite, in the fine-grained fractions. On the other hand, the composition of detrital heavy minerals (here: rutile) appears to be not systematically related to grain-size, but is strongly controlled by location, i.e. the petrology of the source rocks of detrital grains. This supports the use of rutile as a well-suited tracer mineral for provenance studies. The results further suggest that (i) interpretations derived from whole-rock sediment geochemistry should be flanked by grain-size observations, and (ii) a more sound statistical evaluation of these interactions require the development of new tailor-made statistical tools to deal with such so-called two-way compositions ​
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