Mineralogy and trace element geochemistry of sulfide minerals from the Wocan Hydrothermal Field on the slow-spreading Carlsberg Ridge, Indian Ocean.

Wang, Yejian, Han, Xiqiu, Petersen, Sven , Frische, Matthias, Qiu, Zhongyan, Li, Huaiming, Li, Honglin, Wu, Zhaocai and Cui, Ruyong (2017) Mineralogy and trace element geochemistry of sulfide minerals from the Wocan Hydrothermal Field on the slow-spreading Carlsberg Ridge, Indian Ocean. Ore Geology Reviews, 84 . pp. 1-19. DOI 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2016.12.020.

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Abstract

Highlights

• First present seafloor hydrothermal mineralization processes at both Wocan-1 and Wocan-2 on the slow-spreading Carlsberg Ridge.
• The Cu-rich chimneys were formed at slightly lower temperatures than Cu-rich and Fe-rich massive sulfides.
• The main Ag-carriers were both late-stage Cu sulfides and Fe sulfides, which deposited under low temperatures and oxidized conditions.
• Fluid mixing of hydrothermal fluids with seawater might result in significant redistributions of trace metal elements in sulfides.

Abstract

The basalt-hosted Wocan hydrothermal field (WHF), located on the NW slope of an axial volcanic ridge in a depth of ∼3000 m at 6°22′N on the slow-spreading Carlsberg Ridge, northwest Indian Ocean, was discovered in 2013 during Chinese DY28th cruise. Preliminary investigations show that the field consists of two hydrothermal sites: Wocan-1, which shows indications for recent high-temperature hydrothermal activity, is located near the peak of the axial volcanic ridge in a water depth of 2970-2990 m, and the inactive Wocan-2 site, located at a water depth of 3100 m, ∼1.7 km to the northwest of Wocan-1. The recovered hydrothermal precipitates can be classified into four groups: (i) Cu-rich chimneys; (ii) Cu-rich massive sulfides; (iii) Fe-rich massive sulfides; and (iv) silicified massive sulfides. We conducted mineral texture and assemblage observation and Laser-ablation ICP-MS analyses of the hydrothermal precipitates to study the mineralization processes. Our results show that there are distinct systematic trace element distributions throughout the different minerals in the four sample groups. In general, chalcopyrite from the group (i) is enriched in Pb, As, Mo, Ga, Ge, V, and Sb, metals that are commonly referred to as medium- to low-temperature elements. In contrast these elements are present in low contents in the chalcopyrite grains from other sample groups. Selenium, a typical high-temperature metal, is enriched in chalcopyrite from groups (ii) and (iv), whereas Ag and Sn are enriched only in some silicified massive sulfides. As with chalcopyrite, pyrite also shows distinct trace element associations in grains with different habitus. The low-temperature association of elements (Pb, Mo, Mn, U, Mg, Ag, and Tl) is typically present in colloform/framboidal pyrite, whereas the high-temperature association (Se, Co, and Bi) is enriched in euhedral pyrite. Sphalerite in the groups (i) and (iii) at Wocan-1 is characterized by high concentrations of Ga, Ge, Pb, Cd, As, and Sb, indicating that sphalerite in these sample groups likely precipitated at intermediate temperatures. Early bornite, which mainly occurs in the central part of the Cu-rich chimney, is typically enriched in Sn and In compared to the other minerals. In contrast, late bornite that likely formed during increasing interaction of hydrothermal fluids with cold, oxygenated seawater has low Sn and In, but significantly higher concentrations of Ag, Au, Mo and U. Digenite, also forming in the exterior parts of the samples during the late stages of hydrothermal fluid venting, is poor in most trace elements, except Ag and U. The notable Ag enrichment in the late-stage mineral assemblages at both Wocan-1 and Wocan-2 may therefore be related to lower temperatures and elevated pH. Our results indicate that Wocan-1 has experienced a cycle of heating with Cu-rich chimney growth and subsequent cooling, followed by late seafloor weathering, while Wocan-2 has seen intermediate- to high-temperature mineralization followed by intense silicification of sulfides. Seafloor weathering processes or mixing of hydrothermal fluids with seawater during the waning stages of hydrothermal fluid flow result in significant redistributions of trace elements in sulfide minerals.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000397361900001
Keywords: Trace elements; Mineralization process; Hydrothermal sulfides; Laser Ablation ICP-MS; Carlsberg Ridge
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems > Marine Mineralische Rohstoffe
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS Magmatic and Hydrothermal Systems
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2016.12.020
ISSN: 0169-1368
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 09:23
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:11
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/35496

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