Geochemistry of modern sediments from San Quintín coastal lagoon, Baja California: Implication for provenance

  • Luis Walter Daesslé
  • Gabriel Rendón-Márquez
  • Víctor F. Camacho-Ibar
  • Efraín A. Gutiérrez-Galindo
  • Evgueny Shumilin
  • Eduardo Ortiz-Campos
Keywords: sediment, geochemistry, volcaniclastic, heavy minerals, phosphorus, coastal lagoon, San Quintín, Mexico


A detailed regional grid of 97 surfi cial sediment samples is studied for the San Quintín coastal lagoon, which is a shallow embayment located adjacent to a “regionally-rare” intraplate-type basaltic terrain known as San Quintín volcanic fi eld. The infl uence that this unique lithology and other potential sources have on the recent sediment geochemistry is discussed on the basis of geochemical, petrographic and sedimentological results. The sandy silts and silts in the lagoon are enriched in ferromagnesian minerals such as pyroxenes and hornblende, which form up to 6 and 22%, respectively, of the total mineral count in the sand fraction. These relatively immature feldspathic sediments are characterized by the presence of abundant angular plagioclase (25–60%) and absence of lithics. The La-Sc-Th and Cr-Sc-Th discrimination diagrams suggest that mafi c ferromagnesian minerals have a signifi cant effect on the geochemical variance of the sediments. The Cr/Th (median=28) and Co/Th (median=59) ratios are similar to those reported for sands derived from basic rocks. A mafi c provenance is probably responsible for the statistical association of Fe, Hf, U, Th, Sc, Cr, Ca, Na and the rare earth elements. An association of Fe, organic carbon and total P with the trace elements Sb, Cr, Br, As, Na, Sc and Co indicates that their distribution is mainly controlled by the presence of Fe-rich minerals, such as hornblende, and organic matter throughout Bahía San Quintín and the northernmost Bahía Falsa, beneath aquaculture racks. Low enrichment factors (<1) for Cr, Sb, As and P indicate that anthropogenic contaminant sources derived from agrochemicals are not signifi cant.