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Recent studies carried out on fine-grained sediments recovered from boreholes in the eastern plain of the Po River demonstrate that significant mineralogical and geochemical changes in the provenance of sediments occurred in coincidence with the Pleistocene-Holo-cene transition. An increase in ultramafic-sourced sediment, related to more important inputs from the Po River, is evident at the beginning of the Holocene. The effects of grain-size distribution and provenance variation were investigated on recent unconsolidated sediments, mainly silts and clays. Sediments were collected from ten boreholes in the area, and the geochemical and mineralogical data were compared to the grain-size data. Among the chemical indexes, Zr/V, Y/Rb, Y/V, SiO2/Al2O3, Fe2O3/SiO2, Na/Al increase from pure clay to fine sand together with some mineralogical ratios, including quartz/interstratified illite-smectite and feldspar/interstratified illite-smectite. Some provenance indexes, both mineralogical and geochemical (Ni/Al, Cr/Al, serpentine/sheet silicates), were found to be independent from grain-size and are therefore valid for a wide textural range of sediments. Several geochemical and mineralogical proxies for grain size were identified. In the present case, all these indexes are independent from provenance influence and can be used as direct proxies for the grain size of the sediment, as confirmed by the multiple regression analysis performed to evaluate median and sorting. The equations included the most significant ratios and work well for median values <30 μm.

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