Khnifiss Beach’s Black Sand: Provenance and Transport Pathways Investigation Using Heavy Minerals’ Characterization
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Arid areas in south of Morocco suffer from silting problem causing destruction of villages infrastructure, roads, agriculture land and oasis heritage. Black sand on Khnifiss beach near Tarfaya city (S-W Morocco) is marked by enrichment of heavy minerals. This later is an important fraction that could help to assess the provenance and transport pathways of sediment. The sand’s origin investigation could be useful to fight against erosion and silting problems from the source of supply, to this end, mineralogical analysis was carried out in Khnifiss beach’s sand using Optic Microscope and Scanning Electronic Microscope with dispersive energy (SEM- EDS), in addition to physico-chemical analysis provided by Electronic Microprobe. The results revealed: (i) a high grade of oxides (Rutile, Ilmenite, Magnetite, Ulvöspinel) in samples, (ii) silicates (Quartz, Clinopyroxene, feldspar, Zircon), (iii) phosphate (apatite) and (iv) carbonate (calcite). The dominance of iron oxides justifies the black sand’s colour. Then, the mineral composition supposes interference between different origins: proximal source (Calcareous cliff) for calcite, distal sources of oxides and silicates are supposed to be eroded and carried by Drâa valley from granite and igneous rocks in Anti-Atlasic field. Another source supposed might be a proximal volcanic island (Canaries island).