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Geochemical Journal
Geochemical Journal An open access journal for geochemistry
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Distribution of rare earth elements in the Yamuna and the Chambal rivers, India

R. Rengarajan, M. M. Sarin
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 38, No. , P. 551-569, 2004


We report here the first measurements of dissolved rare earth elements (REE) in the headwaters of the Yamuna river draining through the southern slopes of Himalaya. Due to intense weathering of the surface rocks of different lithologies and influence of tributaries, Yamuna river waters have variable dissolved REE contents (87 < ΣREE < 1374 ng L-1, mean = 288.6 ng L-1) and exhibit negative Eu anomaly (0.49 < Eu/Eu* < 0.73, mean = 0.63). While most of the samples do not show discernable Cc anomalies; a negative Cc anomaly, however, found in a few of them, which can be explained by the colloidal pool preferentially enriched in Ce. A comparison among the river waters and bed sediments suggests that dissolved composition of REE is strongly fractionated and is enriched in MREE (Nd-Gd) with respect to sediments; presumably due to preferential dissolution of phosphate minerals such as apatite during weathering processes. Along with the Yamuna river, bed sediments from the Chambal river (a Peninsular river) have also been analyzed for REE composition. Bed sediments in the Yamuna and the Chambal river basins are characterized by ΣREE concentrations in the range of 78 to 291 μg g-1 (mean = 165 μg g-1) and 96 to 157 μg g-1 (mean = 134 μg g-1), respectively. A characteristic feature observed in the REE-normalized patterns of bed sediments is a strong HREE enrichment and a relatively positive Eu anomaly with respect to the granites in the Yamuna river catchment. In contrast, the bed sediment samples of the Chambal river show significant LREE enrichment and Eu enrichment with respect to the Deccan basalts in its catchment. The feldspars and their secondary products, which are enriched in Eu, might be the cause of the Eu anomaly. In river sediments of both these basins, the enrichment factors (EF), with respect to PAAS are ≤2 suggesting that REE composition is mainly derived from weathering processes.


dissolved rare earth element, MREE enrichment, Yamuna river, Chambal river, bed sediment

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