ABSTRACT

Lower Cambrian quartz arenite deposits have a world-wide occurrence and are also present on Baltica. However, the processes influencing the deposits from source to sink have not been accordingly investigated. The provenance of these deposits is crucial for the understanding of the extent of chemical weathering in the cratonic drainage area and reworking at the broad shallow shelves of Baltica during early Cambrian time. Provenance analysis and study of weathering effects was done for lower Cambrian sandstone from southern Scandinavia, including southern Norway, southern Sweden, and Bornholm (Denmark). For the quartz-arenite sandstone of the Ringsaker Member and the Hardeberga Formation, predominantly moderately weathered felsic–intermediate plutonic and meta-igneous source terranes are suggested from negative Eu anomalies, high LaN/YbN, and low to moderate Ti/Nb ratios, as well as trace amounts of plutonic lithoclasts. Similarly, a felsic–intermediate igneous and metamorphic signature is indicated in the heavy-mineral assemblage and a dominance of dark cathodoluminescence of quartz in a special study of samples from Bornholm, thus suggesting a mixed provenance of local granitoid–orthogneissic Mesoproterozoic basement and distant sources from the Transscandinavian Igneous Belt for the Hardeberga Formation on Bornholm. High percentages of mostly rounded ultra-stable heavy-mineral grains, quartz, and extremely high SiO2/Al2O3 ratios indicate a compositionally and texturally mature sand that was subjected to extensive to moderate weathering following removal of detritus from the source area. The main controls on the alteration of framework composition and the heavy-mineral assemblage are interpreted as surface weathering, based on moderate Chemical Index of Alteration values and meteoric flushing, and reworking by waves, based on an estimated low amount of feldspar before burial. Thus, the maturation of lower Cambrian quartz arenite on southwestern Baltica can be ascribed to a combination of processes including weathering in the source-rock area, extensive reworking, and early diagenesis. This study also highlights the importance of understanding alteration processes affecting the deposits from source to sink, and to be careful to describe quartz-rich rocks as simply recycled deposits.

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