The geochemistry of zinc and copper stable isotopes in marine hydrothermal brine pools: Perspectives from metalliferous sediments of the Atlantis II Deep, Red Sea.

Baumgartner, Raphael J., Hu, Siyu, Petersen, Sven , Liu, Sheng-Ao, Li, Dandan and Kunzmann, Marcus (2023) The geochemistry of zinc and copper stable isotopes in marine hydrothermal brine pools: Perspectives from metalliferous sediments of the Atlantis II Deep, Red Sea. Open Access Chemical Geology, 619 . Art.Nr. 121320. DOI 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2023.121320.

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Abstract

Highlights

• Zinc and copper isotope characterization of metalliferous sediments formed by brine pool deposition in the Atlantis II Deep.
• Enrichments of light zinc and copper isotopes in sediments when compared to the hydrothermal inputs to the basin.
• Isotopic data are consistent with metal sulfide precipitation and lesser adsorption of metals onto Si-Fe-OOH particles.
• Increase of δ66Zn with increasing distance from hydrothermal metal release due to uptake of light isotopes by metal sulfides.
• Zinc isotope patterns due to metal sulfide precipitation could be of interest in mineral exploration.

Abstract

This study provides a zinc and copper stable isotope characterization (δ66Zn, δ68Zn, and δ65Cu) of metalliferous seafloor sediments from the Atlantis II Deep, a hydrothermally influenced brine basin in the Red Sea. Samples collected from box cores that capture the entire stratigraphy in the Deep have δ66Zn and δ65Cu values of −0.31 to 0.34 ‰ (0.02 ‰ median) and − 1.81 to 1.02 ‰ (−0.34 ‰ median) relative to the JMC-Lyon and NIST SRM 976 standards, respectively. These results suggest enrichments of light stable isotopes in sediments compared to the hydrothermal inputs to the basin, which likely overlap the mantle-like isotopic signatures of basalts beneath the Deep. Such shifts to lower δ66Zn and δ65Cu values are consistent with widespread metal sulfide deposition from the brines because sulfide anions preferentially consume the light stable isotopes of zinc and copper. However, this interpretation contrasts with observations in the open ocean, where the fractionation of zinc and copper stable isotopes is strongly influenced by biological utilization and organic matter. Previous studies proposed that metal deposition in the Atlantis II Deep is also driven by adsorption onto iron oxides/hydroxides and their weakly crystalline (Si-)Fe-OOH precursor phases within the brines. However, because this process should accumulate heavy zinc and copper stable isotopes, its influence on isotopic fractionation is likely limited. Controls by metal sulfide precipitation are also indicated by spatial covariations between δ66Zn and concentrations of zinc and copper, that is, δ66Zn values increase whereas metal contents decrease with distance away from hydrothermal venting. Comparable trends are lacking for copper isotopes, perhaps because of additional influence by redox processes or, compared to zinc, a much stronger influence by adsorption onto (Si-)Fe-OOH phases, particularly in areas distal to hydrothermal venting where reduced sulfur could be scarce. Collectively, our results from the Atlantis II Deep indicate that zinc and copper stable isotopes could provide information about base and precious metals deposits from similar paleoenvironments. Firstly, zinc and copper stable isotopes shed light on metal sourcing and accumulation processes. Secondly, mineral precipitation in hydrothermally influenced brine pools produces zinc stable isotope patterns that, at least theoretically, could be of interest in mineral exploration at sub-basin and deposit scales.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Red Sea, Atlantis II Deep, Metalliferous sediments, Zinc isotopes, Copper isotopes, Stable isotope fractionation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS > Marine Mineralische Rohstoffe
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB4 Dynamics of the Ocean Floor > FB4-MUHS
Main POF Topic: PT8: Georesources
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2023 07:22
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2024 15:26
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/57832

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