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Chemical Arguments for Circumpacific Copper Deposition and for the Generation of Volcanic Gases - AusIMM
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Chemical Arguments for Circumpacific Copper Deposition and for the Generation of Volcanic Gases

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Author Schaufelberger FA
ID P198601020

Description

Upon subduction, water is liberated from the sediments and the porous struc- ture of the oceanic crust and from de- hydration of minerals for redistribution and chemical reaction. A survey of pro- cesses which are likely to occur along the subducting plate reveals that water may well be basic in subduction induced gas generation, magma formation and ore deposition. In analogy to the industrial water gas process, reaction of water with car- bonaceous matter, in subducted sediments is likely to yield substantial volumes of hydrogen and carbon dioxide. While water and carbon dioxide appear to play a determining role in the development of differentiated magmas, hydrogen will react with metal sulfides and sulfur to form hydrogen sulfide which is essential in sulfide ore depo- sition. A survey of possible metal extrac- tion chemistry along subduction suggests a stepwise solubilization of metals from sediments and oceanic crust, and a poten tial accumulation of dissolved metals in zones of characteristic composition. The metal spectrum in ore deposits at near surface appears to reflect the com- position of the solution in the respec- tive subduction zone. A tendency for preferential solubi- lization of copper at subductidn level, from among the transition metals, an in- creasing generation of hydrogen sulfide in the sane direction and partition effects as well as sulfide precipitation characteristics lead to enrichment in copper and to its selective deposition in the direction towards the trench as observed in S. Latin America. A postscript deals with the formation of native copper.