Earth Science Informatics

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 151–165 | Cite as

Application of a new computer program for tectonic discrimination of Cambrian to Holocene clastic sediments

  • Surendra P. Verma
  • Lorena Díaz-González
  • John S. Armstrong-Altrin
Research Article


TecSand is a new Java software that is used for deciphering the tectonic setting of clastic sediments and sedimentary rocks through two new multidimensional discrimination diagrams. For each sample, TecSand calculates four complex discriminant functions: DF1m1 and DF2m1 for the high-silica diagram and DF1m2 and DF2m2 for the low-silica diagram, each representing linear combinations of log-ratios of all major elements. These functions determine the position of each sample within island or continental arc, continental rift, and collision/convergent settings. The program also calculates the probability values for the three tectonic fields. TecSand provides a “ready for publication” report for each locality, including the adjusted major elements, log-transformed variables, DF1 and DF2 results, and probability values for individual samples. Validations from samples of known tectonic settings, evaluation of chemical changes, and applications to Precambrian clastic sediments have previously been demonstrated in the literature. Therefore, we illustrate the use of TecSand in 10 case studies covering ages from the Early Cambrian to the Holocene. The results obtained from these two diagrams were not only mutually consistent but also with other geological constraints. As an innovation, TecSand provides an overall synthesis of the two diagrams as total percent probability values. Comparison of the results of this study with the previously published tectonic discrimination diagrams reveals that two recent multidimensional discrimination diagrams are more efficient in discriminating tectonic settings. Although TecSand does provide graphics, which can be imported and modified in commercial software, plotting of the sample diagram is no longer required.


Sedimentary rocks Discrimination diagrams Tectonic setting Arc Rift Collision/convergent 



This work was partly supported by DGAPA-PAPIIT grant RN104813. Lorena Díaz-González also acknowledges PROMEP support to the project “Estadística computacional para el tratamiento de datos experimentales” (PROMEP/103-5/10/7332). John S. Armstrong-Altrin expresses his gratefulness to the Instituto de Ciencias del Mar. y Limnología, UNAM, Institutional (no. 616) and DGAPA-PAPIIT IA101213 projects. We are grateful to the editor and anonymous reviewers for numerous helpful comments which enabled us to improve our presentation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Surendra P. Verma
    • 1
  • Lorena Díaz-González
    • 2
  • John S. Armstrong-Altrin
    • 3
  1. 1.Instituto de Energías RenovablesUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoTemixcoMexico
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación en Ciencias, Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Básicas y AplicadasUniversidad Autónoma del Estado de MorelosCuernavacaMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología, Procesos Oceánicos y CosterosUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMéxico D.FMexico

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