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Publication Detail
Dynamic uplift, recycling, and climate control on the petrology of passive-margin sand (Angola)
Abstract
© 2017 Elsevier B.V. The subequatorial Angolan continental margin offers excellent conditions to test textbook theories on the composition of passive-margin sediments generated in different climatic and tectonic regimes. We use here comprehensive petrographic, heavy-mineral, geochemical and zircon-geochronology datasets on modern fluvial, beach, shelfal, and deep-marine sands and muds collected from hyperarid northern Namibia to hyperhumid Congo to investigate and assess: a) how faithfully sand mineralogy reflects the lithological and time structures of source rocks in a tectonically active rifted margin; b) in what climatic and geomorphological conditions the mark of chemical weathering becomes strong and next overwhelming; and, c) to what extent the effect of weathering can be isolated from quartz dilution by recycling of older siliciclastic strata and other physical controls including hydraulic sorting and mechanical wear. A new refined classification of feldspatho-quartzose and quartzose sands and sandstones is proposed.First-cycle quartzo-feldspathic to feldspar-rich feldspatho-quartzose sand eroded from mid-crustal granitoid gneisses of the Angola Block exposed in the dynamically uplifted Bié-Huila dome is deposited in arid southern Angola, whereas quartz-rich feldspatho-quartzose to quartzose sand characterizes the lower-relief, less deeply dissected, and more intensely weathered rifted margin of humid northern Angola. Pure quartzose, largely recycled sand is generated in the vast, low-lying hyperhumid continental interiors drained by the Congo River. The progressive relative increase of durable minerals toward the Equator results from three distinct processes acting in accord: active tectonic uplift in the arid south, and progressively stronger weathering coupled with more extensive recycling in the humid north. The quartz/feldspar ratio increases and the plagioclase/feldspar ratio decreases rapidly in first-cycle sand generated farther inland in the Catumbela catchment, reflecting stronger weathering in wet interior highlands. Discriminating weathering from recycling control is difficult in northern Angola. Although textural features including deep etch pits even on relatively resistant minerals such as quartz and microcline or rounded outline and abraded overgrowths provide valuable independent information, recycling remains as a most elusive problem in provenance analysis of terrigenous sediments.
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