Origin and Distribution of Heavy Minerals in the Surficial and Subsurficial Sediments of the Alluvial Nile River Terraces


Origin and distribution of the heavy minerals of surficial and subsurficial sediments has been investigated in the alluvial Nile River terraces, Khartoum North, Sudan. Heavy mineral assemblages in the very fine sand fraction (0.063 - 0.125 mm) of 10 sediment samples were identified using petrography microscope. Results of descriptive statistical parameters revealed that most sediments samples belonged within very poorly sorted to extremely poorly sorted, strongly negative skewed to strongly positive skewed and mesokurtic to very leptokurtic. The quartz was the dominant in the opaque minerals in all sediments. The non-opaque heavy minerals were dominant by zircon, tourmaline, rutile, garnet, sillimanite, and andalusite. Results revealed that the ultrastable minerals (zircon, tourmaline and rutile) were found in all sediments with range from (2% - 47.36%, 2.08% - 29% and 3% - 24.99%), respectively. Garnet, sillimanite and andalusite were also found with range from (5% - 67%, 1% - 9.09% and 1% - 50%), respectively. Heavy mineral assemblage indentifies sources that are not bounded to the local origin. The proportion and presence of heavy minerals from outside source rocks indicated relatively strong reworking of zircon sand from the outer-shelf to inner-shelf as well relatively long distance of transport. Fluvial and Aeolian sediments were the dominant environments in the investigated area. We conclude that most heavy minerals in the study area are originally derived from gneisses and schist metamorphic rocks and some igneous rocks of the Ethiopian plateau.

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Sulieman, M. , Ibrahim, I. , Elfaki, J. and Dafa-Allah, M. (2015) Origin and Distribution of Heavy Minerals in the Surficial and Subsurficial Sediments of the Alluvial Nile River Terraces. Open Journal of Soil Science, 5, 299-310. doi: 10.4236/ojss.2015.512028.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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