Assessing mineral fertility and bias in sedimentary provenance studies: examples from the Barents Shelf

TitleAssessing mineral fertility and bias in sedimentary provenance studies: examples from the Barents Shelf
TypeBook Section
Author(s)Flowerdew, M.J., Fleming, E.J., Morton, A., Frei, D., Chew, D.M. and Daly, J.S.
Book TitleApplication of Analytical Techniques to Petroleum Systems.
Editor(s)Dowey, P., Osborne, M. and Volk, H.
PublisherGeological Society of London, Special Publication
People Links Michael Flowerdew Edward Fleming Andy Morton


The development of laser ablation techniques using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry has enabled the routine and fast acquisition of in situ U–Pb and Pb–Pb isotope ratio data from single detrital grains or parts of grains. Detrital zircon dating is a technique that is increasingly applied to sedimentary provenance studies. However, sand routing information using zircon analysis alone may be obscured by repeated sedimentary reworking cycles and mineral fertility variations. These biases are illustrated by two clear case studies from the Triassic–Jurassic of the Barents Shelf where the use of U–Pb geochronology on apatite and rutile and Pb–Pb isotopic data from K-feldspar is highly beneficial for provenance interpretations. In the first case study, U–Pb apatite ages from the (Induan – Norian) Havert, Kobbe and Snadd formations indicate an evolving provenance and identify possible episodes of storage within foreland basins prior to delivery onto the Barents Shelf. In the second case study, U–Pb rutile and Pb isotopic analyses of K-feldspar from the Norian–Pliensbachian Realgrunnen Subgroup provide a clear distinction between north Norwegian Caledonides and Fennoscandian Shield sources and suggest that a similar approach may be used to test competing models for sand dispersal for this Subgroup in regions farther north than this study.