The west-central Sinai area includes one of the most productive manganese deposits in Egypt (Um Bogma Mn-Fe ore). The explored area is covered by a Carboniferous and Cambro-Ordovician sedimentary succession overlying Precambrian basement rocks. The purpose of this study is to delineate geochemical anomalies of ore and related elements and track their dispersion trains, which may lead to the discovery of unknown ore deposits. For this purpose, 143 stream sediment samples were analysed and the data were interpreted using the concentration–number (C-N) fractal model, factor analysis and the geochemical mineralization probability index (GMPI). Geochemical thresholds obtained from the C-N fractal model, factor scores and GMPI were used for constructing geochemical anomaly maps and delineating probable anomalous sites. The spatial distribution of Mn, Cu, Co, Pb and Zn anomalies was correlated to Mn and Cu mineralization sites whereas those of Fe and Cr were consistent with mafic rock distributions. Factor analysis revealed significant element associations for mineralization (Cu, Co, Mn, Zn, Pb), country rock composition (Fe, Cr) and element mobility (Cd, Zn). The spatial distribution of ore elements (Mn, Cu) delineated by the factor score and GMPI distribution maps was confirmed and more accurately interpreted using geochemical anomaly maps constructed based on the fractal-derived thresholds. Based on the current study, recent Cu and Mn mineralization sites may be suggested. Cobalt, Zn, Pb and Cd are suggested as efficient pathfinder elements for marine Mn deposits. A dispersion sequence of Cd>Mn>Co>Pb>Zn>Cu>Cr>Fe was proposed based on the threshold distribution patterns of these elements.
Supplementary material: Tables S1–S3 and Figures S1 and S2 are available at https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5463511