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Geochemistry of heavy minerals from Uttara Kannada beach sediments, West Coast of India: an insight into provenance studies

Abstract

Single-grain geochemistry of heavy minerals and its assemblage from beach sediments of Uttara Kannada coast, India, were studied to understand the provenance. The studied heavy minerals were identified under binocular microscope followed by electron probe micro analysis emphasising on spinel, rutile, tourmaline, ilmenite and zircon. Geochemistry of spinel from northern (Rabindranath Tagore) and central (Gokarna) zones suggests their island-arc volcanic origin, particularly peridotites implying the presence of ultramafic suite in the catchment area of Kali and Gangavali rivers. Tourmalines in Devbhag beach from the northern zone are schorl type confirming granitoids as their source rock, while from Rabindranath Tagore beach are dravite type suggesting their metamorphic origin. Conversely, central zone tourmalines are both schorl and dravite type exhibiting dual origin. Rutile geochemistry from northern zone depicts its derivation from metamorphic source. Heavy mineral assemblage of kyanite/sillimanite, rutile, zircon, garnet and staurolite in the southern zone indicates its origin from metamorphic sources. However, the absence of high-grade metamorphic rocks in catchment area of river Sharavati precludes the derivation of garnet and staurolite from this source. Therefore, the presence of such minerals in southern zone may have been brought from further south by northerly alongshore drift where high-grade metamorphic rocks are dominant. Minor heavies-hematite, V-hematite, magnetite, Ti-magnetite, V-magnetite, Ti–V-magnetite present in all three zones reflect their origin from iron ore bodies in the hinterland. From the geological map of Uttara Kannada district, an apparent correlation between hinterland lithology and occurrences of heavy minerals in beach sediments is observed which indicates their derivation from igneous and low-grade metamorphic suites, high-grade metamorphic minerals like garnet and staurolite suggest their derivation from outside. Despite the present work having been carried out in one particular area, the results presented and discussed in this article have wide applicability. The knowledge of sediment input from different sources (river, offshore or alongshore) and transport pathways which play a significant role in making up the composition of beach sands are useful for exploration and/or coastal management studies.

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Availability of data and material

The data were generated using EPMA at the laboratory of Geological Survey of India, Bangalore.

Code availability

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India (Ref: No.14/75/2015-Met.VI), the project granted to Dr. V. S. Hegde of SDM College of Engineering and Technology, Dharwad. This study is a part of the Ph.D. work of Mr. Manjunath Paltekar. We gratefully acknowledge the support and coordination by SDM College of Engineering and Technology, Dharwad for providing all the required research facilities. We thank authorities of Geological Survey of India, Bangalore for their help and use of the facilities to carry out the EPMA analysis. We also acknowledge Mr. Girish Yenagimath for helping in preparation of maps and Dr. P T Hanamgond for constructive comments which were helpful for framing the manuscript. We also acknowledge the reviewers for their recommendations which greatly improved this manuscript.

Funding

This study was funded by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India (Ref: No.14/75/2015-Met.VI), the Project Granted to Dr. V S Hegde of SDM College of Engineering and Technology, Dharwad, Karnataka, India.

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PM and HVS conceived the presented idea. We developed the theory and performed the computations with the help of HS and PAR. HS and PAR also contributed towards field investigations and sample processing. MMK contributed in EPMA analysis and also helped in revising the manuscript. All authors contributed to the design and implementation of the research to the analysis of the results and to the writing of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Manjunath Paltekar.

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Paltekar, M., Hegde, V.S., Hulaji, S. et al. Geochemistry of heavy minerals from Uttara Kannada beach sediments, West Coast of India: an insight into provenance studies. J. Sediment. Environ. 6, 693–705 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43217-021-00078-z

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Keywords

  • Heavy minerals
  • Geochemistry
  • Provenance
  • Uttara Kannada coast
  • West Coast of India
  • EPMA