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Geochemical ‘Golden Spike’ for Lower Palaeozoic metabentonites

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 December 2008

Richard A. Batchelor*
School of Geography & Geosciences, University of St Andrews, Irvine Building, North Street, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL, Scotland


A number of approaches to interpreting geochemical data for categorising and correlating metabentonites are presented. Bulk rock geochemistry, combined with data from cognate minerals, provides the most robust means of characterising an altered ash bed. While it is not possible at present to identify one single parameter which can uniquely fingerprint an altered ash bed, it is possible to come close to an unique fingerprint, or ‘Golden Spike’, by utilising an array of geochemical parameters comprising bulk rock element ratios, Rare Earth Elements, Sr and Nd isotopic ratios in apatite, composition of sandine phenocrysts, and the chemical composition of melt inclusions.

Research Article
Copyright © Royal Society of Edinburgh 2009

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