HEAVY MINERAL ANALYSIS OF THE BLUE MESA, SONSELA, AND PETRIFIED FOREST MEMBERS OF THE TRIASSIC CHINLE FORMATION, AZ
Previous work has shown that the source areas for the Chinle Formation could include the eastern Ouachita Province, Appalachian Mountains, and ancestral Rocky Mountains; the southern Mezoproterozoic granites, Paleoproterozoic metamorphic and pegmatite rocks, Mogollon Highlands; and the western Cordilleran Magmatic Arc.
This study looked at heavy mineral (minerals with a specific gravity greater then 2.8 g/cm3) in the Chinle Formation located in the Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, to better constrain the source areas and to better understand how they influenced sedimentation. After eliminating diagenetic alteration effects, the heavy-mineral analysis shows that western and southern sources are the primary provenance regions for the Chinle Formation in the Petrified Forest National Park. The Chinle Formation consists primarily of granitic and metamorphic derived minerals, consistent with the minerals in the southern and western sources, and the eastern sources were likely too far away to contribute a significant amount of detritus.