Sedimentology and Geochemical Evaluation of Lignite-Argillite Sequences in a Named Basin in Bali Nyonga, Northwest, Cameroon


The sedimentology and geochemistry (major and trace element compositions) of lignite and argillite (carbonaceous shale and claystone) sequences in a Basin in Bali Nyonga, west of the Bamenda Mountain have been investigated to determine their sequences and the prevailing environmental conditions which control their formation. Ten representative samples were obtained fromtrenches, pits, and river and stream valleys in the study area. These samples and their ashes were subsequently examined using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF), inductively coupled plasma spectrometry (ICP), and X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD). The geochemical results revealed that thelithophile, chalcophile and siderophile elements were dominantly epigenetic in origin, mainly from detrital sources supported by high silica and alumina concentrations in all the samples. The mineral phases identified were quartz, kaolinite, illite, pyrite, hematite, and minor phases of feldspars,pseudorutile. The relatively high silica (54.10 wt%) and alumina contents (27.77 wt%) in these samples can be explained by high detrital input during peat formation. The low contents of MgO and CaO in the analysed samples agree very much with the continental setting of the peat formating basin. A clayey microband derived from alkaline volcanic ashes was identified in the lignite and the dominant composition of these clayey microbands was mixed-layer clay minerals of illite and kaolinte, which were interlayered with organic bands. The modes of occurrence of ash bands indicated that the volcanic activities were characterized by multiple eruptions, short time interval and small scale for each eruption during peat accumulation. The ratios of redox-sensitive traceelement (V/Cr versus Ni/Co and V/V + Ni versus Ni/Co), Sr/Ba, and major oxides ratio (CaO + MgO + Fe2O3)/(SiO2 + Al2O3) from the analysed samples from Bali Nyonga indicate a terrestrial, reductive (oxic), littoral to brackish water environmental conditions which are characteristics of paludal-lacustrine basin that is filled by Tertiary volcanic materials.

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Ngia, R. , Agyingi, C. , Foba-Tado, J. , Mboudou, G. , Nshukwi, A. and Beckley, V. (2015) Sedimentology and Geochemical Evaluation of Lignite-Argillite Sequences in a Named Basin in Bali Nyonga, Northwest, Cameroon. International Journal of Geosciences, 6, 917-937. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2015.68074.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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