Rare earths in Archean graywackes from Wyoming and from the Fig Tree Group, South Africa

T. E. Wildeman*, K. C. Condie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Six graywackes from the Archean greenstone belt in the Wind River of Wyoming and 11 graywackes and three shales from the Archean Fig Tree Group, South Africa, were analyzed for the rare earth elements (REE). There are real deviations beyond analytical uncertainty among sediments from the same formation. The absolute abundance of the REE (∑REE) is somewhat lower than that of the North American shale composite (NASC) which is representative of younger sedimentary rocks. Still, the results confirm previous suggestions that the RE pattern in Precambrian sediments is the same as the NASC but that, relative to the heavy REE, graywackes are slightly enriched in the light REE, shales are depleted, and there is a slight enrichment in Eu relative to the NASC. The average abundance of Eu relative to the other REE for all the Precambrian sediments is the same as that in chondritic meteorites. Attesting to the complexity of graywacke genesis, there is no correlation between the variations in the REE parameters and the variations in major or minor element concentrations. In particular, there is no obvious correlation between the excess Eu and Sr abundance. The total amount of REE, the La Yb ratio, and the Eu enrichment factor, however, all increase in the graywackes with the amount granite-gneiss detritus in the rocks. In general, the REE distributions in Archean graywackes and shales appear to be related to the relative amounts of clastic feldspar, mica, and minor phases which concentrate the REE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-453
Number of pages15
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1973
Externally publishedYes

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