The relative abundance of rare earth elements in sediments has been suggested as a tool for determining their source rocks. This correlation requires that weathering, erosion, and sedimentation do not alter the REE abundances, or do so in a predictable manner. We find that the rare earth elements are mobilized and fractionated by weathering, and that sediments derived from the weathered materials can display modifications of the original pattern of rare earth elements of some due to grain-size sorting of the weathered material. However, the REE distribution pattern of the provenance terrane can be recognized in the sediments.
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Rare earth elements in weathering profiles and sediments of Minnesota: Implications for provenance studies