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Browse  abstracts

Exploring Bias in Detrital Zircon Provenance Records Imparted by Landscape Evolution

Vivian Grom, (she/her),LSU Baton Rouge , United States. vgrom1@lsu.edu
Adam Forte, LSU Baton Rouge Louisiana, United States. aforte8@lsu.edu

Understanding the sensitivities of preserved environmental signals to erosional and transport processes within the sediment generation portion of landscapes is vital in constraining uncertainties within provenance analysis. Here our focus is on populations of detrital zircon U-Pb ages as one of the most ubiquitous sediment provenance methods. Many studies often assume uniform parameters upstream of the sampling site, potentially overlooking variations in erosion rates, zircon size and zircon fertility across landscapes. To tease these uncertainties out, we model synthetic landscapes along with their expected provenance evolution.

Employing the Concentration Tracker component, we systematically manipulate erodibility and zircon fertility within synthetic landscapes to simulate sediment provenance evolution and incorporate zircon concentration into a statistical analysis comparing a null hypothesis of an area-dependent contribution to fractions dependent on mass and zircon abundance. While these scenarios do not necessarily reflect “real” landscapes, we use these simple experiments to understand basic controls on the magnitude of potential biases imparted to the simulated detrital zircon U-Pb datasets.

By exploring these potential biases, we provide valuable insights into the uncertainties inherent in provenance analysis and thus their utility and fidelity in reconstructing histories of past landscape evolution. Ultimately, this research contributes to refining the methodologies used in detrital zircon provenance analysis and enriches our understanding of the processes shaping sedimentary records.