Trace-element and Nd-isotope systematics in detrital apatite of the Po river catchment: implications for provenance discrimination and the lag-time approach to detrital thermochronology

Malusà, Marco G.; Wang, Jiangang; Garzanti, Eduardo; Zhi-Chao, Liu; Villa, Igor M.; Wittmann, Hella (2017). Trace-element and Nd-isotope systematics in detrital apatite of the Po river catchment: implications for provenance discrimination and the lag-time approach to detrital thermochronology. Lithos, 290-291, pp. 48-59. Elsevier 10.1016/j.lithos.2017.08.006

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Detrital thermochronology is often employed to assess the evolutionary stage of an entire orogenic belt using the lag-time approach, i.e., the difference between the cooling and depositional ages of detrital mineral grains preserved in a stratigraphic succession. The impact of different eroding sources to the final sediment sink is controlled by several factors, including the short-term erosion rate and the mineral fertility of eroded bedrock. Here, we use apatite fertility data and cosmogenic-derived erosion rates in the Po river catchment (Alps–Apennines) to calculate the expected percentage of apatite grains supplied to the modern Po delta from the major Alpine and Apenninic eroding sources. We test these predictions by using a cutting-edge dataset of trace-element and Nd-isotope signatures on 871 apatite grains from 14 modern sand samples, and we use apatite fission-track data to validate our geochemical approach to provenance discrimination. We found that apatite grains shed from different sources are geochemically distinct. Apatites from the Lepontine dome in the Central Alps show relative HREE enrichment, lower concentrations in Ce and U, and higher 147Sm/144Nd ratios compared to apatites derived from the External Massifs. Derived provenance budgets point to a dominant apatite contribution to the Po delta from the high-fertility Lepontine dome, consistent with the range independently predicted from cosmonuclide and mineral-fertility data. Our results demonstrate that the single-mineral record in the final sediment sink can be largely determined by high-fertility source rocks exposed in rapidly eroding areas within the drainage. This implies that the detrital thermochronology record may reflect processes affecting relatively small parts of the orogenic system under consideration. A reliable approach to lag-time analysis would thus benefit from an independent provenance discrimination of dated mineral grains, which may allow to proficiently reconsider many previous interpretations of detrital thermochronology datasets in terms of orogenic-wide steady state.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Villa, Igor Maria

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

0024-4937

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Igor Maria Villa-Toscani

Date Deposited:

15 Jan 2020 15:32

Last Modified:

15 Jan 2020 15:32

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.lithos.2017.08.006

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.116186

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/116186

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