Saprolitization’s Characteristics of Rare Earth Elements in Volcanic Regolith on Drill Core #65 in Western Sulawesi, Indonesia


  • Shaban Godang
  • Arifudin Idrus Universitas Gadjah Mada
  • Fadlin, Bambang Priadi
  • Nurcahyo Indro Basuki



Rare Earth Elements (REEs), ion-adsorption clays, degree of chemical weathering, degree of saprolitization (DOS), laterite and regolith


The enrichment of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) in regolith depends on greatly number of chemical weathering degree, the ability of the ion-adsorption on clay, precipitation of REEs, minimum uptake by plants, and minor REE leaching out by lessivage. The degree of chemical weathering depends on the decaying of four base weathering elements (Mg, Ca, Na, K) in minerals and is relatively less dependent on the slow leaching of silica. Therefore, a study of regolith profile from weathering’s Adang Volcanics (western Sulawesi, Indonesia) is performed to understand the relationship between degree of chemical weathering, nature migration of REE and the characteristics of saprolitization REEs. The result of drill core samples shows the increasing of degree of chemical weathering (Degree of Saprolitization; DOS) is equal to gradual increasing of alumina by saprolitization, and has also gradual increase in Fe-Ti-oxides by ferruginization; furthermore, there is also a gradual enrichment of REEs occurred in the saprolite zone on Adang Volcanics regolith. The enrichment of REEs in the saprolite zones (E and B horizons) is 2.73 times (TREY = 2,579 ppm, in avg) compared to the parent mafic trachytic rocks (944 ppm) reveal the high adsorption ability on lateritic-ferruginous clay. The thickness of high concentration REEs (2,435 ppm, in avg) is starting from A to E, and B-horizon which is about 5 m. The ratio of LREE and HREE is 87.42% and 12.58%, respectively in parent rock which indicates the genesis of rare-earth is more influenced by replacement of Ca2+, Na+ and K+ in minerals of diopside, apatite and leucite/pseudoleucite rather than the substitution by zircon (Zr4+).


Abedini, A. and Calagari, A.A., 2014. REE geochemical characteristics of titanium-rich bauxites: the Permian

Kanigorgeh horizon, NW Iran. Turkish Journal of Earth Sciences, vol. 23, p. 513-532

Aide, M.T., and Aide, C., 2012, Rare earth elements: Their importance in understanding soil genesis: International

Scholarly Research Network, ISRN Soil Science 2012, Article ID 783876, 11 p.

Aleva, G.J.J., 1994. Laterites: Concepts, Geology, Morphology and Chemistry. Wageningen, the Netherlands: ISIRC, ISBN: 90.6672.053.0., 169 p.

Allaby Michael, 2008 (3rd Ed). A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. Oxford University Press, 663 p.

Anand, R.R., Paine, M.D. and Smith, R.E., 2002. Genesis, classification and atlas of ferruginous materials, Yilgarn

Craton. © CSIRO Exploration and Mining, 91 p.

Aubert, D., Stille, P. and Probst, A., 2001. REE fractionation during granite weathering and removal by waters and suspended loads: Sr and Nd isotopic evidence. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 6. p.387-406

Babechuk, M.G. and Kamber, B.S., 2013. The Flin Flon paleosol revisited. Can. J. Earth Sci. vol. 50: p. 1223–1243

Babechuk, M.G., Widdowsonc, M., Kamber, B.S., 2014. Quantifying chemical weathering intensity and trace element release from two contrasting basalt profiles, Deccan Traps, India. Elsevier, Chemical Geology, vol. 363, p. 56–75.

Bao, Z., and Zhao, Z., 2008. Geochemistry of mineralization with exchangeable REY in the weathering crusts of granitic rocks in South China: Ore Geology Review, vol. 33, p. 519–535.

Bárdossy, G. and Aleva, G.J.J., 1990. Lateritic Bauxites. Developments in Economic Geology, 27, Elsevier, Amsterdam- Oxford-New York-Tokyo, 624 p.

Berger, A., Janots, E., Gnos, E., Frei, R. and Bernier, F., 2014. Rare earth element mineralogy and geochemistry in a

laterite profile from Madagascar. Applied Geochemistry, Vol. 41, p. 218–228

Bunzli, J-C.G. and Pecharsky, V.K., 2016. Handbook on the Physics and Chemistry of Rare Earths Volume 49. Elsevier,


Castor, S.B., and Hedrick, J.B., 2006. Rare earth elements. (in Industrial Minerals Volume, 7th edition: Society for

Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Littleton, Colorado, p. 769–792).

Chakhmouradian, A.R. and Wall, F., 2012. Rare Earth Elements: Minerals, Mines, Magnets (and More). Elements, vol.

, No. 5, p.333–340

Chen, T., Ai, H., Yang, M.X., Zheng, S. and Liu, Y.G., 2011. Brownish Red Zircon from Muling, China. Gems and

Gemology, p. 36-41

China Mineral Reserves Committee, 1986. Handbook of industrial minerals product requirement and references. China

Geological Publishing House, p. 178-190

Cocker, M.D., 2012. Lateritic, supergene rare earth element (REE) deposits. Proceedings of the 48th Annual Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals Arizona. Chapter 4, p.1-18.

Carroll Dorothy, 1970. Rock Weathering. © Plenum Press, New York, 213 p

Eggleton, R.A., 2001. Regolith Glossary: Surficial Geology, Soils and Landscapes.

Evans, C.H., 1996. Episodes from the History of the Rare Earth Elements. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Vol. 15, 354 p

Hamblin, W.K. and Christiansen, E.H., 2003 (10th Ed). Earth's Dynamic Systems. Prentice Hall, p. 248-273

Hamdan, J., Peli, M. and Ruhana, B., 2003. Weathering Behaviour of a Basaltic Regolith from Pahang, Malaysia. © Universiti Putra Malaysia Press. PertanikaJ. Trap. Agric. Sci. Vol. 26, No. 2, p.79 - 88

GB/T 17417.1-2010. China Method for chemical analysis of rare earth ores. Part 1: Determination of rare earths.

Godang, S., Fadlin, Priadi, B., 2016. Geochemical Signatures of Potassic to Sodic Adang Volcanics, Western Sulawesi: Implications for Their Tectonic Setting and Origin. Indonesian Journal on Geoscience Vol. 3 No. 3, p. 195 -214

Goldich, Samuel S., 1938. A study in rock weathering. Journal of Geology, vol.46, p.17-58.

Graham, R.L., 1996 (2nd ed). Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, & Related Terms. U.S. Bureau of Mines, 3660 p

Henderson, P., 1984. Rare Earth Element Geochemistry. Elsevier,

Hoshino, M., Sanematsu. K. and Watanabe, Y., 2016: REE Mineralogy and Resources. (in Handbook on the Physics and

Chemistry of Rare Earths Volume 49, Chapter 279 (Bunzli, J-C.G. and Pecharsky, V.K., p. 129-291

Hsu Wei-biao., 2003. Rare earth element geochemistry and petrogenesis of Miles (IIE) silicate inclusions. Geochimica et

Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 67, No. 24, p. 4807–4821

Idrus, A., Fadlin and Verdiansyah, O., 2017. Rare Earth Elements (REE) and Scandium (Sc) exploration on weathered

Mamasa granitoid complex (western Sulawesi). Unpublished Report, 149 p.

Kabata-Pendias Alina, 2014 (4th Ed). Trace Elements in Soils and Plants. CRC Press Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Kynicky, J., Smith, M.P., Xu, C., 2012. Diversity of rare earth deposits: the key example of China. Elements, Vol. 8, p.


Lesnov, F.P., 2010. Rare Earth Elements in Ultramafic and Mafic Rocks and their Minerals - Main types of rocks. Rock- forming minerals. © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, London, UK, 587 p

Lutgens, F.K. and Tarbuck, E.J., 2012 (11th Ed). Essentials of geology, Pearson Prentice Hall, 138 p.

Maulana, A., Yonezu, K. and Watanabe, K., 2014. Geochemistry of Rare Earth Elements (REE) in the Weathered Crusts from the Granitic Rocks in Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. Journal of Earth Science, Vol. 25, No. 3, p. 460–472

McDonough, W.F. and Sun, S.S., 1995. The composition of the Earth. Chemical Geology, vol.120, p. 223-253

Mcqueen, Kenneth-George, 2006. Unravelling the regolith with geochemistry. Regolith 2006 - Consolidation and

Dispersion of Ideas

Moldoveanu, G.A. and Papangelakis, V.G., 2014. An overview of rare-earth recovery by ion-exchange leaching from ion-adsorption clays of various origins. Mineralogical Magazine, February 2016, Vol. 80, No.1, p. 63–76

Nesbitt, H.W. and Wilson, R., 1992. Recent chemical weathering of basalts, American Journal of Science, Vol.292, p.740-777.

Nesbitt, H.W. and Young, G.M., 1984. Prediction of some weathering trends of plutonic and volcanic rocks based on thermodynamic and kinetic considerations. Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 48, p. 1523-1534.

Polynov, B.B., 1937. Cycle of Weathering. Murby, 220p

Quantin, P. and Lorenzoni, P., 1992. Weathering of leucite to clay minerals in tephrites of the Vico volcano. Miner.

Petrogr. Acta. Vol. XXXV-A, p. 289-296

Randive, K., Kumar, J.V., Bhondwe, A. and Lanjewar, S., 2014. Understanding the Behaviour of Rare Earth Elements in

Minerals and Rocks. Gond. Geol. Mag., Vol. 29 (1 and 2)

Ratman, N. and Atmawinata, S., 1993. Geological map of the Mamuju Quadrangle, Sulawesi, (scale 1:250.000), Geological research and Development Centre, Bandung.

Retallack, G.J., 2010. Lateritization and Bauxitization Events. Economic Geology, vol. 105, p. 655-667.

Rocha, A., Schissel, D., Sprecher, A., de Tarso, P. and Goode, J., 2013. Process development for the Serra Verde weathered crust elution-deposited rare earth deposit in Brazil. Proceedings of the 52rd Conference of Metallurgists (COM2013), Metallurgical Society of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (MetSoc-CIM), Montreal, Canada.

Rudnick, R.L. and Gao, S., 2003. Composition of the Continental Crust (in Treatise on Geochemistry, Volume 3, Elsevier

Ltd., Radarweg 29, 1043 NX Amsterdam, the Netherlands. First edition 2010. p. 131-196)

Salters, V.J.M., and Stracke, A., 2004. Composition of the depleted mantle. G3 (Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems) Vol 5, No.5, p. 1-27

Sanematsu, K., Murakami, H., Watanabe, Y., Duangsurigna, S., Vilayhack, S., 2009. Enrichment of Rare Earth Element in Granitic Rocks and their Weathered Crusts in Central and Southern Laos. Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Japan, vol. 60, No.11–12, p.527–558

Sanematsu, K., Moriyama, T., Sotouky, L. and Watanabe, Y., 2011a. Laterization of basalts and sandstone associated with the enrichment of Al, Ga and Sc in the Bolaven Plateau, southern Laos. Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Japan, Vol. 62, No.3/4, p. 105-129

Sanematsu, K., Kon, Y., Imai, A., Watanabe, K. and Watanabe, Y., 2011b. Geochemical and Mineralogical

Characteristics of Ion-Adsorption Type REE Mineralization in Phuket, Thailand. Mineralium Deposita, vol. 48, No.

, p. 437–451

Sanematsu, K. and Kon, Y., 2013. Geochemical characteristics determined by multiple extraction from ion-adsorption type REE ores in Dingnan County of Jiangxi Province, South China. Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Japan, vol.

, No. 11/12, p. 313-330.

Sanematsu, K. and Watanabe, Y., 2016. Characteristics and Genesis of Ion Adsorption-Type Rare Earth Element

Deposits. Rev. Econ. Geol. Vol.18, p.55–79

Sayyed, M.R.G., 2014. Lithological control on the mobility of elements during chemical weathering. Comunicações

Geológicas, vol. 101, No.1, p.63-69

Schellmann, W., 1986. On the geochemistry of laterites. Chem. Erde, vol. 45, p.39-52

Scott, K.M. and Pain, C.F., 2009. Regolith science. Springer, 473 p

Shannon, R.D., 1976. Revised effective ionic radii and systematic studies of interatomic distances in halides and chalcogenides. Acta Crystallographica, vol. A32, p.751–767.

Sun, S.S. and McDonough, W.F., 1989. Chemical and isotopic systematics of oceanic basalts: implications for mantle composition and processes. Geological Society, London, Special Publications; Vol. 42, p. 313-345

Taylor, S. R., and McLennan, S. M., 1985. The Continental Crustal: Its Composition and Evolution. Blackwell, Oxford, p. 697-719

Voncken, J.H.L., 2016. The Rare Earth Elements: An Introduction. Springer Briefs in Earth Sciences, Springer, 125 p

Waele, B.D. and Muharam, 2014. Geological Interpretation of the Mamuju Rare Earth Mineral Prospect, West Sulawesi, Indonesia. PT. SRK Consulting Indonesia (Unpublished report), 50 p

Wang Deng-hong, Zhao Zhi, Yu Yang, Wang Cheng-hui, Dai Jing-jing, Sun Yan, et al., 2017. A Review of the Achievements in the Survey and Study of Ion-absorption Type REE Deposits in China. (Paper in Mandarin), Acta Geoscientica Sinica, Vol. 38 No.3, p.317-325

Watanabe, Y., Kon, Y., Echigo, T. and Kamei, A., 2016. Differential Fractionation of Rare Earth Elements in Oxidized and Reduced Granitic Rocks: Implication for Heavy Rare Earth Enriched Ion Adsorption Mineralization. Resource

Geology Vol. 67, No. 1, p.35–52.

Weill, D.F. and Drake, M.J., 1973. Europium Anomaly in Plagioclase Feldspar: Experimental Results and

Semiquantitative Model. Science, Vol. 180, No.4090, p.1059-1060

Wilford, J., 2011. Weathering intensity map of the Australian continent. AusGeo News 101, March 2011, p. 1 -5

Worrall, F. and Pearson, D.G., 2001. Water–rock interaction in an acidic mine discharge as indicated by rare earth element patterns. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, vol. 65, p.3027–3040

Wu, C.Y., Huang, D.H., and Guo, Z.G., 1990a, REE geochemistry in the weathered crust of granites, Longnan area, Jiangxi Province: Acta Geologica Sinica, vol. 3, p. 193–210.

Wu, C.Y., Huang, D.H., Bai, G., and Ding, X.S., 1990b, Differentiation of rare earth elements and origin of granitic rocks, Nanling Mountain area. Acta Petrologica Mineralogica, vol.9, p.106–116 (in Chinese).

Yang, X.J., Lin, A.J., Li, X.L., Wu, Y.D., Zhou, W.B. and Chen, Z.H, 2013. China's ion-adsorption rare earth resources, mining consequences and preservation. Environmental Development, vol. 8, p. 131-136

Zhang, Z.H., 1990. A study on weathering crust ion adsorption type REE deposit, South China. Contrib. Geo l. Miner.

Resour. Res. vol. 5, p. 57–71 (in Chinese with English abstract).




How to Cite

Godang, S., Idrus, A., Priadi, F. B., & Basuki, N. I. (2019). Saprolitization’s Characteristics of Rare Earth Elements in Volcanic Regolith on Drill Core #65 in Western Sulawesi, Indonesia. Asian Journal of Applied Sciences, 7(4).




Most read articles by the same author(s)