Provenance analysis has traditionally focused on sandstones, which are much easier to analyse than conglomerates - which must be analysed in the field with limited tools - and mudrocks - which cannot be dealt with easily with classical optical methods. However, it is important to recognise that the silt fraction transported in suspension actually represents the majority of the sediment in large river systems and the predominant grain-size in major deltas and submarine fans, as well as in most of ancient sedimentary basins and reservoirs.

Quantitative provenance analysis of silt represents a step forward in provenance studies as it provides the access to an unexplored world where detrital minerals can be easily identified and their history reconstructed. The technique can be applied to both siltstone and shale making it attractive for the hydrocarbon industry, particularly in the area of research of Unconventional Plays. This contribution is therefore intended to prove the validity and efficacy of the method and its possible application to both QPA studies and to hydrocarbon exploration. The latter is located in the onshore Mandawa basin in southern Tanzania. where hydrocarbon exploration is particularly important for the presence of huge deep-water gas fields.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Andò, S., Vignola, P., and Garzanti, E.
    [2011] Raman counting: a new method to determine provenance of silt. Rendi conti Lincei, 22(4), 327–347.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Armstrong-Altrin, J., and Verma, S.
    [2005] Critical evaluation of six tectonic setting discrimination diagrams using geochemical data of Neogene sediments from known tectonic settings. Sedimentary Geology, 177, 115–129.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bhatia, M.R.
    [1983] Plate tectonics and geochemical composition of sandstones: Journal of Geology, 91, 611–627.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Caracciolo, L., von Eynatten, H., Tolosana-Delgado, R., Critelli, S., Manetti, P., and Marchev, P.
    [2012] Petrological, Geochemical, and Statistical Analysis of Eocene–Oligocene Sandstones of the Western Thrace Basin, Greece and Bulgaria. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 82(7), 482–498.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Catuneanu, O., Embry, A.F. and Eriksson, P.G.
    [2004] Concepts of sequence stratigraphy. In: Eriksson, P.G., Altermann, W., Nelson, D.R., Mueller, W.U. and CatuneanuO. (Eds.)The Precambrian Earth: Tempos and Events, Elsevier Science Ltd, 685–705.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Nicholas, C.J., Pearson, P.N., Bown, P.R., Jones, D.T., Huber, B.T., Karega, A., Lees, J.A., McMillan, I.K., O’Halloran, A., Singano, J.M., and Wade, B.S.
    [2006] Stratigraphy and sedimentology of the Upper Cretaceous to Paleogene Kilwa Group, southern coastal Tanzania. Journal of African Earth Sciences, 45(4–5), 431–466.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Salman, G., and Abdula, I.
    [1995] Development of the Mozambique and Ruvuma sedimentary basins, off-shore Mozambique. Sedimentary Geology, 96, 7–41.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. SchieberJ, and ZimmerleW
    [1998] Petrography of shales: a survey of techniques. In: SchieberJ, ZimmerleW, SethiP (eds)Shales and mudstones: petrography, petrophysics, geochemistry, and economic geology, vol II. Schweizerbart, Stuttgart, pp 3–12
    [Google Scholar]
  9. SmithsonF
    [1961] The microscopy of the silt fraction. Journal of soil sciencesi12, 45–157
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error