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Minerals 2017, 7(6), 101; doi:10.3390/min7060101

Mineralogy of Zn–Hg–S and Hg–Se–S Series Minerals in Carbonate-Hosted Mercury Deposits in Western Hunan, South China

1
Key Laboratory of Metallogenic Prediction of Nonferrous Metals and Geological Environment Monitoring, Ministry of Education, Central South University, Changsha 410083, China
2
Key Laboratory of Mineralogy and Metallogeny, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510460, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Radostina Atanassova
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 11 June 2017 / Accepted: 12 June 2017 / Published: 15 June 2017
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Abstract

Among the Zn–Hg–S and Hg–Se–S series minerals, Hg-bearing sphalerite and metacinnabar are uncommon in ore deposits, but they are useful indicators of temporal variation of ore forming fluids, as well as presenting metallurgical implications for Hg-bearing deposits. To understand the Hg–Zn–Se mineralization system of the Tongren–Fenghuang Hg Belt (TFHB), the Zn–Hg–S and Hg–Se–S series minerals of the Chashula Hg–Zn and Dongping Hg–Ag–Se carbonate-hosted deposits were studied by microscopic observation, electron-probe microanalysis, and X-ray diffraction analysis. Observations show that the Chashula and Dongping deposits experienced two stages of mineralization (Stages 1 and 2). The pyrite, sphalerite I (Hg-poor sphalerite), and quartz formed in Stage 1, while the Zn-bearing cinnabar, sphalerite II (Hg-bearing sphalerite), cinnabar, selenium metacinnabar, and Ag minerals formed in Stage 2. The Hg-bearing sphalerite, containing 13.36–22.26 wt % Hg (average 18.73 wt % Hg), replaces sphalerite I (0.00–1.31 wt % Hg). The Hg-bearing sphalerite of the Dongping Hg–Ag–Se deposit contains lower Hg (10.12–14.67 wt % Hg) than that of the Chashula deposit. The unit cell a of the Hg-bearing sphalerite gradually increases with increasing Hg content. The texture of the Zn-bearing cinnabar shows it is not stable and easily breaks down to Hg-bearing sphalerite and cinnabar through the chemical reaction: (Hg,Zn)S → (Zn,Hg)S + HgS. Selenium metacinnabar intergrowths with tetrahedrite and miargyrite were found only in the Dongping deposit. The selenium metacinnabar contains 76.57–83.97 wt % Hg, and extensive isomorphic substitution of Se and S (6.81–19.21 wt % Se, 4.14–10.32 wt % S). Based on our mineralogical studies, the Zn, Hg, Hg–Zn, and Hg–Se mineralization styles in the TFHB are interpreted as the product of different stages in the mineralization process. View Full-Text
Keywords: Hg-bearing sphalerite; selenium metacinnabar; mineral chemistry; Tongren–Fenghuang Hg Belt; south China Hg-bearing sphalerite; selenium metacinnabar; mineral chemistry; Tongren–Fenghuang Hg Belt; south China
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Liu, J.; Rong, Y.; Zhang, S. Mineralogy of Zn–Hg–S and Hg–Se–S Series Minerals in Carbonate-Hosted Mercury Deposits in Western Hunan, South China. Minerals 2017, 7, 101.

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