Sulfide Mineralogy in the Ballachulish contact metamorphic Aureole
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
16 samples of increasing metamorphic grade from the Ballachulish Igneous Complex and Aureole, located in the west of Scotland, were studied in order to analyze the sulfide mineralogy and to what extent they were affected by contact metamorphism. The samples were collected from two lithologies, the Creran Succession and the Ballachulish Slate lithology, as well as from the igneous complex. The sulfides of main interest in the samples are pyrite and pyrrhotite. At the onset of contact metamorphism, pyrite disappears while pyrrhotite gets more abundant as metamorphic grade increases. Pyrrhotite also undergoes multiple changes such as 1) elongation and thinning of the grains, 2) development of 120° grain-boundaries, 3) development of pyrite-zones within the pyrrhotite and 4) the decomposition of pyrrhotite and alignment of pyrite along its grain-boundaries at high temperature. The elongation of the grains occurs in both the Creran Succession and the Ballachulish Slate. The rest of the textures, however, can only be found in the Creran Succession. The two lithologies differ by the high graphite content in the Ballachulish Slate. The elongated grains as well as the pyrite inclusions in the pyrrhotite both are strong evidence of recrystallization. The absence of pyrite in the Ballachulish Slate was most probably caused by the buffering properties of the graphite-rich fluid in these rocks, causing more reducing conditions. There is evidence against a heavy, pervasive fluid flow through the aureole. However, the inner contact zone seems to have been affected by a more pronounced fluid flow. This could have been caused by the metamorphic fluid working in conjunction with fluids released from the intrusion. Regarding the mobility of S in the aureole, no strong evidence could be found, other than the decomposition of pyrrhotite grain-boundaries in the high-grade metamorphic samples.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 52 p.
Sulfide, mineralogy, Ballachulish, contact, metamorphic, aureole, pyrite, pyrrhotite, recrystallization, cordierite
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-87237OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-87237DiVA: diva2:601705
UppsokLife Earth Science