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Publication Detail
Ultra-long distance littoral transport of Orange sand and provenance of the Skeleton Coast Erg (Namibia)
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Garzanti E, Vermeesch P, Andò S, Lustrino M, Padoan M, Vezzoli G
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    25, 36
  • Journal:
    Marine Geology
  • Volume:
  • Status:
  • Print ISSN:
Quantitative provenance analysis based on high-resolution bulk-petrography and heavy-mineral data on beach and dune sands, integrated with detrital-zircon geochronology and chemical analyses of pyroxene, garnet and staurolite, demonstrates that sand derived from the Orange River is carried by powerful and persistent longshore currents as far as northern Namibia and southern Angola, 1750. km north of its mouth. This is the longest cell of littoral sand transport documented so far. Compositional forward modeling indicates that ≥. 80% of dune sand in the Skeleton Coast is Orange-derived, the remaining ≤. 20% being supplied by slow erosion of the Damara Orogen chiefly via the Swakop River. A decrease in basaltic rock fragments and pyroxene with relative enrichment in garnet, staurolite, tourmaline and other metamorphic minerals north of Walvis Bay indicates that only one-third of beach sand in the 350. km dune-free gap between the Namib and Skeleton Coast Ergs is Orange-derived, the remaining two-thirds being supplied largely by the Swakop River draining the Damara Orogen. Although volcanic gravel becomes dominant in beaches of the Skeleton Coast north of the Uniab mouth, detritus from Cretaceous Etendeka lavas accounts for only 4% of beach sand, reflecting limited sand generation in the arid catchment. Contributions from the Kunene River to either dune or beach sands is ruled out, indicating that gem diamonds found in placer deposits along the coast of Namibia are all derived from the Orange River. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.
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