Unraveling stratigraphic variability represents a complex challenge in heterogeneous, fossil-poor successions. In this study of a late Miocene submarine slope–channel system in the Tabernas Basin of southern Spain, Aehnelt et al. apply X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction, and SEM analyses, supplemented by light microscopy, to assess the utility of geochemical correlation techniques for correlation. The observations suggest that sandstone beds are geochemically homogenous (geochemical stratigraphy is comparable to lithostratigraphy), but in some cases, geochemical evaluation using particular enrichments, depletions, or major trends allows even more detailed correlation than simple physical correlation. The results are interpreted to suggest that geochemical stratigraphic correlations are valid over a range of scales (m to 100s of m), but that geochemical correlations need to be applied with care if utilizing a limited range of elements.
Geochemical correlation in an exhumed submarine channel complex (Tabernas Basin, SE Spain): comparison to sedimentological correlation at various length scales by Michaela Aehnelt, Richard H. Worden, Andrew C. Canham, Stephen J. Hill, David M. Hodgson, and Stephen S. Flint