Beyond zircon: Incorporating detrital feldspar pb isotope analysis into the multiproxy toolbox for sedimentary provenance analysis—an example from a long-lived eastern laurentian clastic system

David P. Moecher, Eszter Badenszki, J. Stephen Daly, David Chew

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The common- Pb isotope composition (107Pb/104Pb vs.106Pb/104Pb) of detrital K-feldspar was measured on the same clastic units from southeastern Laurentia that were previously characterized by detrital zircon and detrital monazite geochronology for provenance analysis. The purpose is to test a model that invokes late Paleozoic recycling of sediment initially sourced from erosion of exhuming Grenvillian basement in the Neoproterozoic. The approach takes advantage of the difference in Pb isotope compositions between Laurentian and Amazonian cratonic sources documented by previous workers. Neoproterozoic samples sourced from southern Amazonia and central Laurentian basement that serve as controls on methodology plot within Pb isotope space characteristic of their respective sources. K-feldspar in the Cryogenian Ocoee Supergroup in the southern Appalachian orogen falls within the field of Pb isotope compositions defined by south-central Appalachian basement (SCAB). The latter, in turn, exhibits Pb isotope compositions characteristic of Amazonia, because SCAB was transferred to Laurentia from Amazonia during Rodinian assembly. In contrast, K-feldspar in early Cambrian arenite falls within the Laurentian field, indicating a shift in the early Paleozoic to a sediment source from the Laurentian Craton. K-feldspar in Lower Pennsylvanian lithic arenites of the Central Appalachian Basin exhibit Pb isotope compositions that fall within the SCAB field but at higher Pb isotope ratios than in the inferred Ocoee sources. Incorporation of all provenance constraints requires an immediate source that is isotopically more radiogenic than the Ocoee but similar in all other petrologic and geochronologic characteristics, for example, other Cryogenian to Ediacaran units along strike in the Appalachian orogen. The results further demonstrate the importance of having multiple detrital mineral proxies for accurate provenance analysis rather than using detrital zircon geochronology alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-445
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was conducted under the auspices of the US Fulbright Foundation, the Irish Fulbright Commission, and Geological Survey Ireland. Pb isotopic analyses were carried out at the National Centre for Isotope Geochemistry (NCIG) at University College Dublin (UCD), which is a joint venture of UCD, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, and University of Galway, funded mainly by Science Foundation Ireland, including grant 04/BR/ES0007/EC07 awarded to J. S. Daly. E. Badenszki, D. M. Chew, and J. S. Daly gratefully acknowledge Science Foundation Ireland grants 13/ RC/2092 and 13/RC/2092_P2, which are cofunded under the European Regional Development Fund. The support to D. P. Moecher of administrative and facilities staff at Trinity College Dublin and UCD is greatly appreciated.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, University of Chicago Press. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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