Journal of Palaeogeography | 2021
Provenance of sediments from Barra del Tordo and Tesoro beaches, Tamaulipas State, northwestern Gulf of Mexico
The mineralogy, bulk sediment geochemical composition, and U–Pb ages of detrital zircons retrieved from the Barra del Tordo (Tordo) and Tesoro beach sediments in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico were analyzed to determine their provenance. The beach sediments are mainly composed of quartz, ilmenite, magnetite, titanite, zircon, and anorthite. The weathering proxies such as the Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA), Chemical Index of Weathering (CIW), and Plagioclase Index of Alteration (PIA), reveal a moderate-to-high intensity of weathering in the source area. The chondrite-normalized rare earth element (REE) patterns are similar to felsic igneous rocks, with large negative europium anomaly (Eu/Eu * \xa0=\u2009~\u20090.47–0.80 and\u2009~\u20090.57–0.67 in the Tordo and Tesoro beach sediments, respectively). Three major zircon U–Pb age groups are identified in the Tordo and Tesoro beach sediments, i.e., Proterozoic (~\u20092039–595\u2009Ma), Mesozoic (~\u2009244–70.3\u2009Ma), and Cenozoic (~\u200965.9–1.2\u2009Ma). The differences of the zircon age spectrum between the Tordo and Tesoro beach sediments are not significant. The comparison of zircon U–Pb ages in this study with ages of potential source terranes suggests that the Mesozoic and Cenozoic zircons of the studied Tordo and Tesoro beach sediments were derived from the Eastern Alkaline Province (EAP) and Mesa Central Province (MCP). Similarly, the likely sources for the Proterozoic zircons were the Sierra Madre Oriental (SMOr) and Oaxaquia in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. The results of this study further indicate that the sediments delivered to the beaches by rivers and redistributed by longshore currents were crucial in determining the sediment provenance.