Advances in Earth Science ›› 2018, Vol. 33 ›› Issue (11): 1142-1153. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2018.11.1142.

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Sedimentary Provenance Analysis Using Detrital Apatite: A Review *

Shuo Zhang( ), Xing Jian *( ), Wei Zhang   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Fujian Xiamen 361102, China
  • Received:2018-06-15 Revised:2018-10-12 Online:2018-11-20 Published:2018-12-21
  • Contact: Xing Jian;
  • About author:

    First author:Zhang Shuo(1995-), male, Hanzhong City, Shaanxi Province, Master student. Research areas include sedimentary geology and sedimentary geochemistry. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    Foundation item:Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China "Provenance of seasonal suspended sediments discharged by the Minjiang River: Constraints from trace elements and Sr-Nd isotopes"(No.41806052);The Natural Science Foundation in Fujian Province "Nd isotopes and provenance of the sediments in the Minjiang River mouth"(No.2017J05067)

Shuo Zhang, Xing Jian, Wei Zhang. Sedimentary Provenance Analysis Using Detrital Apatite: A Review *[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2018, 33(11): 1142-1153.

In situ analysis of detrital apatite is a significant approach to sedimentary provenance analysis, which is an important aspect in sedimentary geology study. Several trace elements such as Sr, Y and Rare Earth Elements (REEs) concentrate in apatites, and the distribution of these elements depends on the content of SiO2 and the distribution coefficient of the melt, thus the trace element abundances is obviously different in different rocks. These features can be used to indicate parent-rocks of detrital apatites in sedimentary rocks. The approaches and proxies of detrital apatite to sedimentary provenance analysis can be summarized as follows. ①elemental geochemistry, such as Sr, Y, REEs, the approaches including chondrite-normalised REE distribution patterns of apatites, Classification and Regression Tree (CART) and discriminant plots of REE parameters; ②isotopic geochemistry, including Sr-Nd and Lu-Hf isotopes; ③Multi-dating, including low-temperature thermochronology such as (U-Th)/He (AHe)and Fission Track (AFT) dating, and high-temperature thermochronology such as U-Pb dating. Based on an integrated analysis using these methods, we can get various and comprehensive geological information such as the rock type, formation conditions and evolution of source rocks, the history of uplift and exhumation of source areas and even the subsidence history of sedimentary basins. Although the low-temperature thermochronology of detrital apatite is widely used in sedimentary provenance analysis, the elemental and isotopic geochemistry, as well as the U-Pb dating, remains to be developed. These approaches are supposed to have wide application prospects in several research areas such as tectonics, sedimentary geology basin analysis and even paleoclimatology.

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