Friday, March 7, 2014

Highlights—Garnet to the Source

Detrital garnet compositions provide a means to directly link sediment to the specific source rocks from which they are derived. In this paper, Hietpaset al. applied Mahalanobis distances, measured on canonical discriminant functions, as a metric to differentiate garnet compositions among potential sediment provenances. These metrics, applied to ~2,300 detrital garnet compositions isolated from modern river alluvium, successfully linked ~94% of the detrital grains to the source rocks from which they were derived. These results and methods illustrate a robust objective means to readily assess the complex, multi-dimensional detrital mineral chemical analyses. The method is also applicable to provenance studies relying on major and trace elements of other detrital mineral species. The results illustrate a means to constrain the lithology of source rocks and regional sediment provenance trends, insights valuable for understanding the unroofing history recorded in the stratigraphy of depositional basins.

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