Geochemical, mineralogical and sedimentological analyses of reworked sediments (new) in the syn- to post-rift Middle Cretaceous-Quaternary detrital deposits from western Atlantic margin of Cameroon: evidence from sedimentation-erosion alternation in the context of passive margin evolution

Abstract

Reworked detrital sediments were discovered in the syn-rift to post-rift Cretaceous to Quaternary (Pleistocene) detrital deposits of the Douala coastal sub-basin in the eastern margin of the South Atlantic Ocean at West Cameroon. This contribution presents the geochemical, mineralogical, and sedimentological data to constrain the origin of these reworked sediments. The investigated samples are characterized by the high values of Plagioclase Index of Alteration (PIA, 97.83–99.90), Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA, 71.9–99.08), and Chemical Index of Weathering (CIW, 98.67–99.90). Data gleaned from these indices suggest that the reworked sediments and their potential source rocks experienced severe weathering. The A-CN-K plot along with the mineralogical indicates a probably post-depositional K-enrichment. The high light rare earth elements (LREE)/heavy rare earth elements (HREE) ratios (15.82–79.13) suggest that the reworked were mainly derived from felsic igneous rocks. This interpretation is further confirmed by the Zr versus TiO2, TiO2/Al2O3, Th/Co versus La/Sc, and La/Th versus Th/Yb plots, which indicate felsic igneous and silicic source rocks. Meanwhile, the high variability of LREE/HREE ratios (15.82–79.13) and the positive Eu anomalies (1.10–1.32) of studied samples could indicate a little contribution of mafic source rocks. Analysis of the distribution of the heavy minerals (e.g. tourmaline, aluminum silicate, and rutile) revealed that these felsic and silicic source rocks are mainly granite and gneiss, probably belonging to the Nyong Group and the Western part of the Neoproterozoic Yaounde Group. The morphoscopic analyses of the host rocks (very angular to angular shapes) have revealed that the reworked sediments have proximal to subproximal onshore origins, probably from former sedimentary deposits, as is indicated by variation of their color. The tectonic discriminant diagram indicates the Oceanic Island Arc and Active Continental Margin which are inconsistent with the geological history of the Douala coastal sub-basin and could be explained by the recycling effect experienced by studied sediments which have been deposited in the coastal plain to the fluvial environment in the Low System Track context.

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Fig. 1

modified from Njike Ngaha (1984)

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modified from Nguéné et al. 1992; Lawrence et al. 2002; Ntamak-Nida et al. 2010)

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Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge Professor Sylvestre Ganno, University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon, for constructive comments of the earlier version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Milan Stafford Tchouatcha.

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Tchouatcha, M.S., Kouske, A.P., Deaf, A.S. et al. Geochemical, mineralogical and sedimentological analyses of reworked sediments (new) in the syn- to post-rift Middle Cretaceous-Quaternary detrital deposits from western Atlantic margin of Cameroon: evidence from sedimentation-erosion alternation in the context of passive margin evolution. Acta Geochim (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11631-021-00455-5

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Keywords

  • Reworked sediments
  • Geochemistry
  • Mineralogy
  • Sedimentology
  • Nyong and yaoundé groups
  • Douala coastal sub-basin
  • Cameroon