Articles | Volume 6, issue 5
31 Oct 2002
31 Oct 2002

The mineralogy and chemistry of fine-grained sediments, Morphou Bay, Cyprus

C. Neal

Abstract. The mineralogy and chemistry of the less than 20μm fraction of marine sediments at Morphou Bay, north-west Cyprus, are presented to characterise fine-grained sediment supplies from basic and ultrabasic rocks of the Troodos Massif within a typological setting. The sediments comprise a mixture of smectite, illite, kaolinite and iron rich chlorite. They also contain amorphous iron oxides/hydroxides, calcite (with some magnesium substitution for calcium) and an amphibole. Spatial patterns in mineralogy occur: the near-shore sediments are rich in smectite, chlorite, amphibole and amorphous iron oxides/hydroxides, while the offshore sediments are rich in illite and calcite. The sediments are calcium, magnesium, iron, aluminium and potassium bearing, due to the presence of significant amounts of calcite (for Ca), clay minerals and aluminium and iron oxides/hydroxides. Potassium is present within the micaceous mineral illite, but it is also contained within other phases that are difficult to pinpoint. Statistical analysis reveals that the chemical composition of the sediments broadly follows the mineralogy with the dominant feature being related to spatial changes in the mineralogy. The patterns of change reflect a three component mix of clay-sized sediment types: (1) localised lithogenous sources rich in smectite with subsidiary amounts of amorphous iron oxides/hydroxides and amphibole, from Cyprus, the Troodos in particular, (2) illite rich and smectite chlorite and chlorite bearing material of lithogenous origin from other parts of the eastern Mediterranean and (3) calcite, mainly of marine origin.

Keywords: smectite, illite, chlorite, kaolinite, calcite, sediments, Morphou Bay, Troodos, Cyprus, Mediterranean, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, silicon, phosphorus.