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Extreme enrichment of Se, Te, PGE and Au in Cu-sulfide microdroplets: evidence from LA-ICP-MS analysis of sulfides in the Skaergaard Intrusion, east Greenland

Holwell, David A., Keays, Reid R., McDonald, Iain ORCID: and Williams, Megan R. 2015. Extreme enrichment of Se, Te, PGE and Au in Cu-sulfide microdroplets: evidence from LA-ICP-MS analysis of sulfides in the Skaergaard Intrusion, east Greenland. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 170 , 53. 10.1007/s00410-015-1203-y

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The Platinova Reef, in the Skaergaard Intrusion, east Greenland, is an example of a magmatic Cu–PGE–Au sulfide deposit formed in the latter stages of magmatic differentiation. As is characteristic with such deposits, it contains a low volume of sulfide, displays peak metal offsets and is Cu rich but Ni poor. However, even for such deposits, the Platinova Reef contains extremely low volumes of sulfide and the highest Pd and Au tenor sulfides of any magmatic ore deposit. Here, we present the first LA-ICP-MS analyses of sulfide microdroplets from the Platinova Reef, which show that they have the highest Se concentrations (up to 1200 ppm) and lowest S/Se ratios (190–700) of any known magmatic sulfide deposit and have significant Te enrichment. In addition, where sulfide volume increases, there is a change from high Pd-tenor microdroplets trapped in situ to larger, low tenor sulfides. The transition between these two sulfide regimes is marked by sharp peaks in Au, and then Te concentration, followed by a wider peak in Se, which gradually decreases with height. Mineralogical evidence implies that there is no significant post-magmatic hydrothermal S loss and that the metal profiles are essentially a function of magmatic processes. We propose that to generate these extreme precious and semimetal contents, the sulfides must have formed from an anomalously metal-rich package of magma, possibly formed via the dissolution of a previously PGE-enriched sulfide. Other processes such as kinetic diffusion may have also occurred alongside this to produce the ultra-high tenors. The characteristic metal offset pattern observed is largely controlled by partitioning effects, producing offset peaks in the order Pt+Pd>Au>Te>Se>Cu that are entirely consistent with published D values. This study confirms that extreme enrichment in sulfide droplets can occur in closed-system layered intrusions in situ, but this will characteristically form ore deposits that are so low in sulfide that they do not conform to conventional deposit models for Cu–Ni–PGE sulfides which require very high R factors, and settling of sulfide liquids.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Additional Information: This paper is published under the terms of the CC-BY licence
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0010-7999
Funders: NERC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 28 October 2015
Last Modified: 23 May 2023 17:33

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