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A new mode of mineral replacement reactions involving the synergy between fluid-induced solid-state diffusion and dissolution-reprecipitation: A case study of the replacement of bornite by copper sulfides

Adegoke, I.A., Xia, F.ORCID: 0000-0002-4950-3640, Deditius, A.P., Pearce, M.A., Roberts, M.P. and Brugger, J. (2021) A new mode of mineral replacement reactions involving the synergy between fluid-induced solid-state diffusion and dissolution-reprecipitation: A case study of the replacement of bornite by copper sulfides. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta . In Press.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2021.04.017
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Abstract

Mineral replacement reactions are one of the most important phenomena controlling the geochemical cycle of elements on Earth. In the early years, solid-state diffusion was proposed as the main mechanism for mineral replacement reactions, but over the past 20 years the importance of the coupled dissolution-reprecipitation (CDR) mechanism has been recognized. In the presence of a fluid phase and at low temperatures (e.g., <300 °C), CDR is the predominant mineral replacement process compared to relatively slow solid-state diffusion. However, in the present case study, we show that the rate of solid-state diffusion is comparable to the rate of CDR processes during the replacement of bornite (Cu5FeS4) by copper sulfides at 160–200 °C. The experiments initially produced chalcopyrite lamellae homogeneously distributed in the entire bornite grain, and each lamella was enveloped by digenite. The lamellae were formed by removing Fe3+ from bornite via solid-state diffusion, since there was no evidence for fluid entering the bornite grains during lamellae formation. An interesting discovery is that solid-state exsolution of chalcopyrite lamellae was induced by the bulk hydrothermal fluids surrounding the mineral grains, because in the absence of fluids under otherwise identical conditions, no exsolution occurred, and because the exsolution rate and lamellae size were sensitive to the composition of hydrothermal fluids. We hypothesize that this fluid-induced solid-state diffusion (FI-SSD) mechanism is made possible by the similar topology of the crystal structure of these phases. The solid-state diffusion of Fe3+ within bornite and across the resultant chalcopyrite and digenite phase boundaries is facilitated by the near-identical S framework. Parallel to and after lamellae exsolution, CDR reactions proceeded from the surface to the interior of the grains or along fractures, replacing chalcopyrite by digenite, and digenite by covellite and/or chalcocite, depending on experimental conditions. The synergy between FI-SSD and CDR resulted in complex reaction pathways for reactions in five acidic hydrothermal fluids with or without added Cu2+, Cu+, Cl−, SO42−, and SO32−. The outcomes of these experiments imply that (1) under conditions where cation diffusion rates are of the same order of magnitude as dissolution and precipitation rates, hydrothermal fluids can induce and control solid-state diffusion processes, e.g., exsolution; (2) mineral replacement can be a result of the synergy between FI-SSD and CDR mechanisms; this happens at low temperatures (≤200 °C) in chalcogenide systems, but could affect silicate and oxide systems at amphibolite to granulite to eclogitic metamorphic grade; and (3) the synergy between FI-SSD and CDR mechanisms can lead to complex reaction pathways that cannot be easily predicted empirically.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Chemistry and Physics
Harry Butler Institute
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier Ltd.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/61664
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