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High-frequency fluctuations in heavy mineral assemblages from Upper Jurassic sandstones of the Piper Formation, UK North Sea: Relationships with sea-level change and floodplain residence

By
Andrew Morton
Andrew Morton
HM Research Associates Ltd., 2 Clive Road, Balsall Common, West Midlands CV7 7DW, UK, and CASP, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, 181a Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DH, UK
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David Mundy
David Mundy
Elbolton Sedimentology Consulting, 111 Woodside Circle, SW, Calgary, Alberta T2W 3K1, Canada
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Gail Bingham
Gail Bingham
Talisman Energy (UK) Ltd., Talisman House, 163 Holburn Street, Aberdeen AB10 6BZ, UK
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Published:
May 01, 2012

Upper Jurassic sandstones deposited in a shallow-marine deltaic setting in the Piper Field of the Outer Moray Firth area, North Sea, show high-frequency fluctuations in apatite:tourmaline ratios that appear to be related to sea-level change. Because apatite and tourmaline are both stable during burial diagenesis and have similar hydraulic behavior, variations in the apatite:tourmaline ratio indicate either differences in sediment provenance or in the extent of floodplain weathering, apatite being unstable during weathering. Other provenance-sensitive heavy mineral ratios (rutile:zircon, monazite:zircon, chrome spinel:zircon) and mineral-chemical data from detrital garnet assemblages show that sandstones with high apatite:tourmaline have the same provenance as sandstones with low apatite:tourmaline. Fluctuations in apatite:tourmaline ratios are therefore attributed to the extent of weathering during floodplain residence prior to the sediment entering the marine system. Sedimentological data indicate that sandstones with high apatite:tourmaline were deposited during sea-level highstands, whereas sandstones with low apatite:tourmaline were deposited during lowstands. The implication of this observation is that during sea-level lowstands, sediment undergoes more prolonged floodplain residence than during highstands, apparently the direct result of the increase in areal extent of the floodplain. The fluctuations in apatite:tourmaline offer an opportunity for high-resolution correlation in the Piper Field. If similar patterns become apparent in other areas, variations in apatite:tourmaline ratios could also provide a basis for identifying highstand and lowstand events, and help establish whether deep-water submarine fan sandstones were deposited during highstands or lowstands.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Mineralogical and Geochemical Approaches to Provenance

E. Troy Rasbury
E. Troy Rasbury
Department of Geosciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794-2100, USA
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Sidney R. Hemming
Sidney R. Hemming
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
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Nancy R. Riggs
Nancy R. Riggs
Geology Program, School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona 86011, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
487
ISBN print:
9780813724874
Publication date:
May 01, 2012

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