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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Journal of Sedimentary Research (SEPM)


Journal of Sedimentary Research, Section A: Sedimentary Petrology and Processes
Vol. 67 (1997)No. 3. (May), Pages 451-461

Heavy-Mineral Analysis and Typology of Detrital Zircons: A New Approach to Provenance Study (Saxothuringian Flysch, Germany)

Jurgen Schafer, Wolfgang Dorr


Heavy-mineral analyses of Famennian and Visean Saxothuringian graywackes yielded stable, zircon-dominated spectra. The typology of the detrital zircons was examined using Pupin's typology method in order to test the application of that method to detrital zircons. The results of heavy-mineral and zircon-typology analyses allow subdivision of the autochthonous Saxothuringian flysch ("Thuringian Facies") into three groups (Famennian flysch of the Erbendorf Paleozoic; older part (Lehestener Schichten) and younger part (Teuschnitzer Schichten) of the Carboniferous flysch). The allochthonous Saxothuringian flysch ("Bavarian Facies") can be correlated with the older part of the Carboniferous Thuringian flysch.

Within the flysch of the "Thuringian Facies", the proportions of reddish zircons decrease from the Famennian to the youngest Visean flysch sediments. Both the Famennian graywackes and the youngest units of the Saxothuringian flysch are dominated by euhedral zircons but can be distinguished by the presence of different zircon types.

The older part of the Carboniferous Thuringian flysch is dominated by rounded zircons.

From the methodological standpoint, our study demonstrates that zircon typology is a useful tool to characterize detrital zircon suites. It allows refinement of subdivisions based upon stable heavy-mineral spectra.

In combination with data from previous studies, our results permit us to outline the development of the provenance area of the Saxothuringian flysch.

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