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Factors affecting the rare earth element compositions in massive sulfides from deep-sea hydrothermal systems

Zeng, Z.; Ma, Y.; Yin, X.; Selby, D.; Kong, F.; Chen, S.

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Authors

Z. Zeng

Y. Ma

X. Yin

D. Selby

F. Kong

S. Chen



Abstract

To reconstruct the evolution of ore-forming fluids and determine the physicochemical conditions of deposition associated with seafloor massive sulfides, we must better understand the sources of rare earth elements (REEs), the factors that affect the REE abundance in the sulfides, and the REE flux from hydrothermal fluids to the sulfides. Here, we examine the REE profiles of 46 massive sulfide samples collected from seven seafloor hydrothermal systems. These profiles feature variable total REE concentrations (37.2–4,092 ppb) and REE distribution patterns (LaCN/LuCN ratios = 2.00–73.8; (Eu/Eu*)CN ratios = 0.34–7.60). The majority of the REE distribution patterns in the sulfides are similar to those of vent fluids, with the sulfides also exhibiting light REE enrichment. We demonstrate that the variable REE concentrations, Eu anomalies, and fractionation between light REEs and heavy REEs in the sulfides exhibit a relationship with the REE properties of the sulfide-forming fluids and the massive sulfide chemistry. Based on the sulfide REE data, we estimate that modern seafloor sulfide deposits contain approximately 280 tons of REEs. According to the flux of hydrothermal fluids at mid-ocean ridges (MORs) and an average REE concentration of 3 ng/g in these fluids, hydrothermal vents at MORs alone transport more REEs (>360 tons) to the oceans over the course of just two years than the total quantity of REEs in seafloor sulfides. The excess REEs (i.e., the quantity not captured by massive sulfides) may be transported away from the systems and become bound in sulfate deposits and metalliferous sediments.

Citation

Zeng, Z., Ma, Y., Yin, X., Selby, D., Kong, F., & Chen, S. (2015). Factors affecting the rare earth element compositions in massive sulfides from deep-sea hydrothermal systems. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16(8), 2679-2693. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015gc005812

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 22, 2015
Online Publication Date Aug 1, 2015
Publication Date Sep 16, 2015
Deposit Date Jul 27, 2015
Publicly Available Date Oct 1, 2015
Journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 8
Pages 2679-2693
DOI https://doi.org/10.1002/2015gc005812

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Copyright Statement
Zhigang Zeng, Yao Ma, Xuebo Yin, David Selby, Fancui Kong, Shuai Chen (2015), Factors affecting the rare earth element compositions in massive sulfides from deep-sea hydrothermal systems, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16(8), 2679-2693, 10.1002/2015GC005812 (DOI). To view the published open abstract, go to http://dx.doi.org and enter the DOI.







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