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Native Sn–Pb droplets in a zeolitic amygdale (Isle of Mull, Inner Hebrides)
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geology and Geochemistry.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical, Inorganic and Structural Chemistry.
2009 (English)In: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, ISSN 0016-7037, E-ISSN 0016-1258, Vol. 73, no 10, 2907-2919 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite the particular scientific interest in the elements with high affinity to S and O2, but found in zero-valence state in nature, the origin of these native minerals has been little explored and remains obscure. Here we describe unique Sn–Pb droplets found in a closed analcime–calcite amygdale collected from a basaltic unit cropping out at Carsaig Bay (Isle of Mull, Inner Hebrides). The droplets consist of intimate intergrowths of nearly pure Sn0 and Pb0 domains in proportion 88:12 and are enveloped in a thin, brownish film of organic composition. The occurrence of the Sn–Pb droplets in a closed amygdale, their relationship with the host analcime + calcite and their Pb isotope composition (which does not match any known anthropogenic Pb source) rule out the possibility of anthropogenic contamination and support the natural origin of the Sn–Pb alloy.

The variable isotope (Pb, Sr, Nd) compositions in different members of the host basaltic sequence suggest that a parent basaltic magma was modified by crustal assimilation and post-emplacement alteration processes. Considering all possible explanations, it appears that the most likely source of Pb for the Sn–Pb alloy is a discrete basaltic unit with an isotopic composition comparable to the Antrim basalts (Northern Ireland). The amygdale phases, on the other hand, show isotopic evidence for incorporation of elements from both local basaltic and sedimentary units. The apparent isotopic disequilibrium between Sn–Pb droplets and amygdale phases indicates a complex, multi-stage fluid evolution. The occurrence of Sn–Pb droplets in organic capsules suggests that the droplets and the enveloping organic substances are co-precipitates. This implies that the transportation and deposition of Sn and Pb might have occurred through organometallic compounds. We assume interaction of seawater fluids carrying metals leached from basaltic rocks with hydrocarbons from sedimentary units as a prerequisite for the formation of the organometallic complexes. The zeolites lining the basaltic vesicles might have destabilized the migrating organo-Sn and Pb compounds causing their breakdown and precipitation of Sn–Pb alloy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 73, no 10, 2907-2919 p.
National Category
Physical Chemistry
Research subject
Physical Chemistry
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-34473DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2009.02.017ISI: 000265669300014OAI: diva2:286540
övrigt antal författare 6st, dvs 2st SU och 1st övrig totalt. 9st.Available from: 2010-01-14 Created: 2010-01-08 Last updated: 2011-07-06Bibliographically approved

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Hålenius, UlfEriksson, Lars
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Department of Geology and GeochemistryDepartment of Physical, Inorganic and Structural Chemistry
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