Provenance discrimination among foreshore, backshore, and dune environments in the black sand beaches along the Samandağ/Hatay coasts, SE Turkey (E Mediterranean)

  • Mustafa Ergin
  • Zehra S. Karakaş
  • Erdoğan Tekin
  • Basak Eser
  • Koray Sözeri
  • İbrahim Çopuroğlu
  • Şükrü Koç
  • Barbaros Şimşek
Original Paper


The occurrence of beach placers, the chromite-rich black sand, and the factors controlling their distribution along the Samandağ coasts, SE Turkey, was investigated. One hundred fifty-two surficial (upper 2 to 5 cm) samples of beach sediments from foreshore, backshore, and dune subenvironments; 24 river sediments; 25 samples from ophiolitic source rocks; and ore samples from 4 chromitite mines were collected between the years 2012 and 2015. In addition to hydrogeographic and geomorphological field observations, grain size analysis and total heavy mineral separation and conventional petrographic microscopy studies were carried out. Bimodal, well to moderately well sorted, fine to medium sands were predominant, and on the basis of grain size distribution, at least six sectors could be distinguished by their alongshore fining or coarsening tendencies. Obviously, spatial variations in drainage pattern of fluvial input, wave and current motions, and beach morphology played a crucial role in changing sediment texture. The total heavy mineral (THM) concentrations ranged from 1 to 92 wt% (avg. 40 wt%) in beach sediments and from 3 to 50 wt% in fluvial sediments whereby the bed load of the major and perennial Asi River contained lower THM (9–25 wt%) than its ephemeral tributaries (14–50 wt%) which are in much closer proximity to the source areas. Overall, the THM concentrations in foreshore, backshore, and dune subenvironments tend to decrease in southward direction, except for THM enrichment close to the Asi River mouth. This would reflect rather higher inputs from northerly ephemeral rivers draining the ophiolitic rocks with additionally net longshore sediment transport towards south. The coastal physical processes favoring heavy mineral enrichment such as spatial and temporal variations in swashzone wave dynamics with uprush, backwash, and infiltration effects on the beaches were also observed in the field. The opaque heavy mineral fractions are mostly found in grain size less than 0.25 mm and composed of chromite, magnetite, and ilmenite species with intergrowth textures. Non-opaque heavy mineral fractions were dominated by various species of pyroxenes and amphiboles with lesser amounts of serpentinized olivine. Formation of chromite-rich black sand placers along the Samandağ beaches (SE Turkey) and also in river/stream beds resulted from the weathering of mafic-ultramafic rock complexes (“Hatay or Kızıldağ Ophiolites”) and chromite-rich ores of the Amanos Mountains to define the provenance of placers and no considerable input was detected from the Asi River downstream from the Bassaer ophiolites of Syria.


Chromite placers Grain size Marine beaches Hatay Turkey 



We are grateful to Laura Stutenbecker, and one anonymous rewiever of the Arabian Journal of Geosciences for their helpful comments and suggestions which improved the manuscript. We also thank John S. Armstrong-Altrin for his editorial handling of the paper. Ş. Keskin helped with the GRADISTAT computer program. Part of XRF analysis of element concentrations was carried out in the Ankara University YEBİM and Canada ACME Laboratories. SEM-EDAX Analysis was performed in the MTA Laboratory. Selected samples were analyzed in the TPAO Laboratory for XRD mineral identification. C.Ö. Kılıç, M.Yıldırım and Ş. Özdilek helped with thin and polished sections preperation and rock identification. Chromitite samples were collected in the Seldiren and Yaylacık Mines of Merkür Mining and Merpa Metal Companies in Hatay.

Funding information

This research was funded by the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council (TÜBİTAK-YDABÇAG—Project No. 112Y146).


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mustafa Ergin
    • 1
  • Zehra S. Karakaş
    • 1
  • Erdoğan Tekin
    • 1
  • Basak Eser
    • 1
  • Koray Sözeri
    • 1
  • İbrahim Çopuroğlu
    • 2
  • Şükrü Koç
    • 1
  • Barbaros Şimşek
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering, Department of Geological EngineeringAnkara UniversityGölbaşıTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering, Department of Geological EngineeringNiğde UniversityNiğdeTurkey
  3. 3.General Directorate of Mineral Research and Exploration of Turkey (MTA)ÇankayaTurkey

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