Main content area

Heavy-mineral-based provenance and environment analysis of a Pliocene series marking a prominent transgression in the south Yellow Sea

Wang, Kunshan, Shi, Xuefa, Yao, Zhengquan, Liu, Jianxing, Liu, Jian, Xu, Taoyu
Sedimentary geology 2019 v.382 pp. 25-35
Miocene epoch, Pliocene epoch, basins, mica, mineral content, provenance, pyrite, rivers, sand, subsidence, transgressive segregation, China, Yangtze River, Yellow River, Yellow Sea
Detrital minerals in sediments can provide insight into sedimentary provenance and depositional environments. Here we report a record of heavy minerals of a 300.1 m long core recovered from the western south Yellow Sea, which was dated back to the late Pliocene (~3.5 Ma). Results of detrital mineral analysis show that sediments are dominated mainly by silicate minerals sourced from the Chinese mainland through river inputs. Heavy minerals suggest that marine transgression occurred around 76–84 m depth of the core depth, about at 792–840 ka BP. The upper part of the core (0–76 m) is dominantly marine and the lower part (below 84 m) is terrestrial. From the Miocene to Early Pleistocene, the Yellow Sea area generally subsided; the deposition center began to move from west to east, therefore the content of fine sand increased relatively in the core sediment. Meanwhile, under the influence of depression evolution in the Subei Basin, the paths of rivers were shifted, as a result the contents of augite and garnet changed, sediments in the study area were dominated by proximal sediments sourced from the Subei Basin, possibly of mixed sediments of the Yellow River and Yangtze River. The lower part of the core was characterized by a dramatic increase in augite with hornblende and epidote as dominant minerals. In the Early Pleistocene, under the background of subsidence in the Yellow Sea area, while transgression occurred, rivers shifted southward. Comparison with the mineral composition of adjacent core NHH01 and surface sediments from the region suggests the Yellow River dominated the study area, and the old Yangtze River input being occasionally dominant. The heavy mineral assemblage was dominated by hornblende and epidote, as well as mica, garnet and authigenic pyrite in some sediment layers.