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Variabilité chimique et isotopique créée par les processus sédimentaires dans les sédiments de rivière Himalayennes

Abstract : Nd, Hf, Pb and Sr isotopic compositions of river sediments are often considered to be representative of those of their source rocks. Thus, they are widely used to trace sediment provenance or to average the isotopic compositions of the drained lithologies. The influence of sedimentary processes on the isotopic composition of these sediments is however poorly known. The aim of the present study is to characterize the extent of the isotopic variability that can be generated by mineral sorting process during sediment transport in fluvial system. To do this, we analyzed trace element concentrations and Nd, Hf, Pb and Sr isotopic compositions in river bank, bedload and suspended load sampled at several locations in the Ganga fluvial system draining part of the Himalayan orogen. We also measured the chemical and isotopic compositions of numerous mineral and granulometric fractions separated from these sediments to better understand the contribution of each mineral species to the bulk isotopic budget of river sediments. When the drained lithologies are mainly crystalline and sedimentary, we show that Nd isotopes are very little affected by mineral sorting processes because, whatever the sediment type, those isotopes are always controlled by the same minerals i.e. monazite and allanite. In contrast, Hf, Pb and Sr isotopic systems are significantly affected by mineral sorting processes. Both Hf and Pb isotopes are affected by a zircon effect that generates large isotopic variations between bedload and suspended load. For Sr, variations between the different sediment types more likely result from variable proportions of K-feldspar and mica. When the main drained lithologies are characterized by strong differences in erodibility i.e. basalts versus crystalline rocks, we show that the combined effects of differential erosion in the drainage basin and sediment sorting in the water column are responsible for significant Nd, Pb and Hf isotopic variations between bedload and suspended load. Our calculations suggest that basaltic erosion products are preferentially transported in suspension, near the water surface, whereas the erosion products of more crystalline rocks are preferentially concentrated in bottom sediments. Finally, we suggest that the isotopic variations observed between bedload and suspended load on continents may have important implications for the isotopic systematics of oceanic terrigenous sediments and the long-term evolution of the mantle if these latters are recycled in subduction zones.
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Marion Garçon. Variabilité chimique et isotopique créée par les processus sédimentaires dans les sédiments de rivière Himalayennes. Sciences de la Terre. Université de Grenoble, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012GRENU031⟩. ⟨tel-00845860⟩

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