This is the first study presenting major and trace elemental data from the Mesoproterozoic Hongshuizhuang Formation shales in Yanshan basin, North China, in order to reconstruct its provenance and chemical weathering history. The shales are strongly depleted in Na2O and Sr and enriched in Y and transition metal elements relative to upper continental crust. Low Zr concentrations and various discriminant plots (e.g., Th/Sc–Zr/Sc and Al2O3–TiO2–Zr) indicate insignificant mineral sorting or recycling of these shales. The rocks show light rare earth element (REE) enrichment (La/YbCN = 3.99–6.92), flat heavy REE, and significantly negative Eu anomalies (Euan = 0.57–0.68) in chondrite-normalized REE patterns, similar to post-Archean Australian average shales. The fairly uniform REE patterns and trace element ratios indicate that the Hongshuizhuang Formation shales were derived from a felsic source area with granodiorite as the dominant contributor. Mixing calculations suggest a mixture of 30 % granite porphyry, 5 % basalt, and 65 % granodiorite as the possible source of the shales, also supporting that granodiorite was the predominant source. Intense chemical weathering of the source terrain is indicated by high values of the premetasomatized chemical index of alteration, plagioclase index of alteration, Rb/Sr, a strong positive correlation between TiO2 and Al2O3, depletion of CaO, Na2O, and Sr, and mineral compositions. Such strong chemical weathering suggests a warm and wet paleoclimate, perhaps due to high atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentrations, and a near-equatorial location of the North China Craton in the Columbia supercontinent at 1.4 Ga.
- Hongshuizhuang Formation
- Source weathering