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Minerals 2016, 6(4), 110; doi:10.3390/min6040110

Mapping of Sulfur Isotopes and Trace Elements in Sulfides by LA-(MC)-ICP-MS: Potential Analytical Problems, Improvements and Implications

1
State Key Laboratory for Mineral Deposits Research, Department of Earth Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
2
School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, SA, Australia
3
State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, Faculty of Earth Resources, Collaborative Innovation Center for Exploration of Strategic Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Antonio Simonetti
Received: 7 July 2016 / Revised: 17 August 2016 / Accepted: 22 August 2016 / Published: 20 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mineral Analytical Techniques)
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Abstract

Constraints on accurate quantitative trace element and sulfur (S) isotope analysis of sulfide minerals, especially pyrite, by laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) remain imperfectly understood at the present time. Mapping of S isotope distributions within a complex sample containing several minerals requires an evaluation of the matrix effects and accuracy. Here, we apply LA-Q(quadrupole)-ICP-MS and LA-MC(multiple collector)-ICP-MS methods to analyze trace elements and S isotopes in sulfides. Spot analysis of S isotopes was conducted to evaluate the influence of matrix effects. The matrix effects from siderite and magnetite are deemed to be negligible in mapping analysis at the precision of this study. Both Fe and S were used as internal standard elements to normalize trace element concentrations in pyrite. Fe proved to be the better choice because the normalized counts per second ratio of trace elements with Fe is much more stable than if using S. A case study of a sulfide sample from the Chengmenshan Cu deposit, Jiangxi Province, South China, demonstrates the potential of combined S isotope and trace element mapping by LA-(MC)-ICP-MS. The results suggest that this deposit underwent multi-stage ore formation. Elements, including Au and Ag, were hosted in early-stage pyrite but were re-concentrated into multi-component sulfide assemblages during a late-stage hydrothermal event, which also led to crosscutting veins containing pyrite largely devoid of trace elements, except Se. Combining in situ S isotope and trace element analysis on the same sample represents a powerful tool for understanding ore-forming processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: sulfur isotopes; trace elements; LA-(MC)-ICP-MS; mapping; internal standard element; matrix effects sulfur isotopes; trace elements; LA-(MC)-ICP-MS; mapping; internal standard element; matrix effects
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Zhu, Z.-Y.; Cook, N.J.; Yang, T.; Ciobanu, C.L.; Zhao, K.-D.; Jiang, S.-Y. Mapping of Sulfur Isotopes and Trace Elements in Sulfides by LA-(MC)-ICP-MS: Potential Analytical Problems, Improvements and Implications. Minerals 2016, 6, 110.

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