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The Chemistry of Crustal Brines: Tracking their Origins
by
Bruce W.D. Yardley, David A. Banks & Andrew C. Barnicoat, University of Leeds, UK

in - Porter, T.M. (Ed), 2002 - Hydrothermal Iron Oxide Copper-Gold and Related Deposits: A Global Perspective, PGC        Publishing, Adelaide, v. 1, pp 61-70.

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ABSTRACT

Brines may be generated in sedimentary, magmatic or metamorphic settings, and they change chemistry extensively as they move through rocks and interact with them. The primary constraint on their metal carrying capacity is their salinity, but they may carry very variable amounts of S in solution, depending on their source and the rocks that they have encountered. Sulphur availability and oxidation state are also major controls on which metals will be transported and which precipitated.

Availability of fluid inclusion brine analyses is making possible the characterisation of a much wider range of brine types than was hitherto possible, and providing information about metal contents in a wide range of settings, as well as tracer analyses. Iron contents of brines are broadly temperature dependent, and are much higher in magmatic brines than in sedimentary ones, but basinal fluids may still carry sufficient Fe in solution to precipitate iron oxides at an oxidation front, and may be much more voluminous.

Brines of different origins can often be distinguished on the basis of conservative halogen tracers unaffected by wall rock interactions: Br/Cl ratios used in conjunction with I/Cl ratios or d37Cl values separate residual bittern fluids from re-dissolved evaporites, with igneous brines forming an intermediate, but somewhat distinct, grouping.

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