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Geochemical anatomy of a spheroidally weathered diabase

Banerjee, Anupam and Chakrabarti, Ramananda and Mandal, Sourav (2016) Geochemical anatomy of a spheroidally weathered diabase. In: CHEMICAL GEOLOGY, 440 . pp. 124-138.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.07.008


Major, trace element concentrations and Nd, Sr isotope ratios were measured in micro-drilled samples of a 237 Ga-old, hand-specimen sized spheroidally weathered diabase from southern India. A sample of the un-weathered diabase dike was also analyzed. X-ray micro-CT imaging of the weathered sample shows three dominant mineral phases which are plagioclase, pyroxene, and a Fe-bearing phase (possibly hematite and/or ilmenite). This imaging documents the pervasive nature of two generations of ribbon-like, cross-cutting fractures. The older fracture is sealed while the more recent fracture is open without any in-filling. The values of the Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA) of the samples show a wide range but are less than 50. Despite being a relatively less weathered rock, we observe that concentrations of major, minor and trace elements vary significantly with the percentage relative standard deviation (%RSD) for the elements ranging from 10.2-41.8. The CIA of the samples do not show any trend with the position of the sample in the hand-specimen. Barring Ca and Li, whose concentrations decrease from the core to the rim of the sample, there is no significant spatial trend in the concentrations of the elements. Concentrations of Na, Al, and Sr increase with increasing CIA values while concentrations of Mg, Fe, and Sc decrease with increasing CIA. The strong positive correlations of Na and Al, as well as Na and Sr indicates preferential weathering of plagioclase in the diabase. Na/Ca increases while Mg/Al, Mg/Na, Mg/Ca, Fe/Al and Sc/Sr decrease with increasing CIA values and the un-weathered rock plots in the, middle of these trends. Such variations are explained in terms of differential weathering of plagioclase (in samples with lower CIA than the un-weathered rock, W1-type) and pyroxene (in samples with higher CIA than the un-weathered rock, W2-type) which have varying resistance to weathering. At the hand-specimen scale, the variability in the weathering indices like CIA are controlled by differential weathering of minerals and might not accurately reflect the intensity of weathering. Chondrite-normalized La/Sm and Gd/Lu co-vary with CIA values indicating mobility of the REEs during spheroidal weathering even at the hand-specimen scale. The Eu anomaly also increases with increasing CIA values which is explained by differential weathering of pyroxene and plagioclase. We observe large percentage deviations of the Nb-normalized concentrations of elements from the un-weathered rock in specific samples but no spatial trend is observed. Overall, the variations in element concentrations can be explained by varying fluid mobility of the elements, selective weathering of the minerals in the diabase, and ambient environmental conditions. Considerable Nd and Sr isotopic variability is observed at the hand-specimen scale and is explained in terms of weathering-related fractionation of parent/daughter ratios. This elemental fractionation must have happened long time ago to allow for radiogenic decay of the long-lived isotopes of Rb-87 and Sm-147. The spread (%RSD) in the initial Sr and Nd isotope compositions of the weathered samples reach a minimum value around 12-13 Ga which we interpret as the timing of the peak weathering event which led to fractionation of the parent/daughter ratios. For Nd isotopes, the average epsilon Nd ((1.2 Ga)) of the weathered samples coincides with the epsilon Nd-(1.2 Ga) of the unweathered rock. The timing of the weathering event coincides with the timing of the breakup of the Columbia supercontinent and follows wide-spread alkaline volcanism in the Indian subcontinent. This is the first such attempt to determine the timing of a weathering event in rocks using long-lived radioactive isotopes. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copy right for this article belongs to the ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, PO BOX 211, 1000 AE AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Centre for Earth Sciences
Division of Chemical Sciences > Materials Research Centre
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2016 04:54
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2018 15:44
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/55213

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