Geochemistry of coastal sands of Eastern Mediterranean: The case of Nisyros volcanic materials

I.T. Tzifas, P. Misaelides, A. Godelitsas, Platon Gkamaletsos, P. Nomikou, A.G. Karydas, V. Kantarelou, A. Papadopoulos

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    Coastal sand samples collected from the northern part of Nisyros volcanic island (Dodecanese, Greece) were investigated for first time for their potential in strategic metals and compared with parental rocks of the island which are Quaternary volcanics with alternating lava flows, pyroclastic layers and lava domes and relevant materials located near granitoids of Northern Greece. The PXRD and SEM-EDS study of the sands revealed enhanced content of feldspars, Fe-Mn oxides, magnetite, tourmaline, pyroxenes, ilmenites, along with zircons, apatite and sulfide inclusions. The fresh hydrothermally deposited clayely material collected from the Nisyros caldera crater had a rather different mineralogical composition from the coastal one (alunite, anhydrite, opal-CT, quartz, kaolinite). UCC-normalized spidergrams indicated that the weathering processes contributed to accumulation of heavy minerals (mainly ilmenite), and strategic metals including V (1920 mg/kg) and Nb (245 mg/kg), in the coastal sand. The low REE concentration(ΣREE + Y = 240 mg/kg) could be attributed to the absence of REE-rich minerals. Moreover, the sandsexhibit different geochemical patterns compared to the volcanic source rocks of the island, which areespecially enriched in Large-Ion Lithophile Elements (LILE) and depleted in High Field Strength Elements (HFSE), such as Nb and Ta. On the other hand, the caldera material is enriched in volatile components,sulfur, chalcophile elements (Se, Bi, Hg, As, Pb) and Ba. Micro-XRF analyses of representative crystals showed that the high Nb content of the sands was associated with the Ti/Fe-rich phases (e.g. ilmenites).The geochemical composition of N Greece sands showed, because of their origin, enrichment not only in HFSE but also in REE. The study of the coastal heavy mineral sands originating from different geological environments of Greece provides information about the association of their mineral components with REE, other elements of economic interest (e.g. Co, Nb, Ta) and natural actinides. In addition, the study of the black sands of Nisyros island could be considered as a characteristic example of those from other parts of Hellenic Volcanic Arc (HVA) and other relevant Mediterranean regions.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalChemie der Erde
    Issue number3
    Pages (from-to)487-501
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Coastal sands
    • Heavy minerals
    • Rare earth minerals
    • Actinides
    • Hellenic volcanic arc
    • Nisyros
    • Micro-XRF

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