Rare earth elements distribution in fine-grained deposits from the uppermost Triassic and Lower Jurassic of the Polish Basin: provenance and weathering of source area


  • Paweł Brański PIG-PIB
  • Stanisław Zbigniew Mikulski PGI-NRI




rare earth elements, provenance, palaeo-weathering, uppermost Triassic and Lower Jurassic, Polish Basin


Nineteen samples of uppermost Triassic and Lower Jurassic claystones and mudstones, which were formed in the epicontinental Polish Basin, were analysed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for rare earth elements (REE) and other selected trace elements (Sc, Y, Th, Zr and U). The results indicate that the source of most of the claystones and mudstones studied were sedimentary rocks of the upper continental crust of old cratonic areas, where the protolith had a mainly felsic character. However, in the latest Triassic a characteristic layer formed, implying significant input from mafic volcanic protolith. It was also found that moderately intense chemical weathering usually favoured increased concentration of the rare earths. Extremely strong hydrolysis, related to episodes of very hot and humid climate (greenhouse events), caused conspicuous impoverishment in REE in residual clays. Weathering and recycling processes modified the composition of REE to some extent, but generally did not obliterate the original characteristics of the protolith. In some samples, enrichment in rare earth elements was observed, caused by admixtures of accessory minerals (being a main carrier of REE) and/or increased sorting during recycling. 






Thematic issue