Chemical weathering is an important process at Earth's surface. Given that the chemical composition of sediments reflects the weathering environment in which they were generated, this can provide insights into the intensity and style of weathering during the past. Weathering indices calculated from the whole-rock geochemical compositions of sedimentary rocks are widely used. However, these indices have limitations, such as contamination by non-silicate minerals. To develop a weathering index widely applicable to sedimentary rocks formed under various conditions, we used compositional data and multivariate statistics to analyse a dataset for igneous rocks and their weathering profiles. The chemical variations of the igneous rocks and weathering trends were independently extracted from the dataset, and a new weathering index (the robust weathering (RW) index) is proposed. The applicability of the RW index was assessed using saprolite profiles and zonal soils. We further applied the RW index to a carbonate-rich paleosol to test its use in studies of paleoclimate. The RW index is robust even for sediments containing a large amount of non-silicate materials, and thus enables comparison of the weathering intensity of a wide range of sedimentary rocks. Spatial–temporal reconstructions of paleo-weathering conditions will be improved by applying the RW index to terrestrial and marine sediments.
- Independent component analysis
- Non-silicate material
- RW index
- Sedimentary rock
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Earth-Surface Processes