Behaviour of chemical elements during weathering of pyroclastic rocks, Hong Kong Academic Article uri icon


  • The behaviour of whole-rock major, trace and rare earth elements (REE) during weathering under subtropical conditions is examined along a profile developed over crystal--vitric tuffs with eutaxitic texture. The intensity of weathering within the profile varies erratically, indicating weathering processes operate over different scales. Quartz, K-feldspar, plagioclase and biotite are the main primary minerals, whereas clays, sesquioxides, sericite and chlorite are the alteration products. Kaolinite, halloysite and illite-mica are the dominant clay minerals present in significantly varying proportions. Two competing processes, namely leaching and fixation, are the main regulators of variations in mostly major and some trace element concentrations along the profile. In general, as the intensity of weathering increases, Ca, Na, K, Sr +/- Si decrease, while Fe, Ti, Al and loss of ignition (LOI) increase. Likewise, the intensity of negative Eu-anomaly decreases while the intensity of negative Ce-anomaly and the La/Lu and Sm/Nd ratios increases. In detail, however, the behaviour of chemical elements cannot be solely explained in terms of the degree of weathering. This study makes it clearly evident that the type and abundance of sesquioxides and clay minerals can significantly modify the geochemical signatures of weathering processes.

publication date

  • May 2001