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Unlike other marine-sedimentary manganese ore deposits, which are largely composed of manganese oxides, the primary ore at Molango (Hidalgo State, Mexico) is exclusively manganese carbonate (rhodochrosite, Mn-calcite, kutnahorite). Stable isotope studies of the carbonates from Molango provide critical new information relevant to the controversy over syngenetic and diagenetic models of stratiform manganese deposit formation. Negative ??13C values for carbonates from mineralized zones at Molango are strongly correlated with manganese content both on a whole rock scale and by mineral species. Whole rock ??13C data fall into three groups: high-grade ore = -16.4 to -11.5%.; manganese-rich, sub-ore-grade = -5.2 to 0%.; and unmineralized carbonates = 0 to +2.5%. (PDB). ??18O data show considerable overlap in values among the three groups: +4.8 to -2.8, -5.4 to -0.3%., and -7.4 to +6.2 (PDB), respectively. Isotopic data for individual co-existing minerals suggest a similar separation of ??13C values: ??13C values from calcite range from -1.1 to +0.7%. (PDB), whereas values from rhodochrosite are very negative, -12.9 to -5.5%., and values from kutnahorite or Mn-calcite are intermediate between calcite and rhodochrosite. 13C data are interpreted to indicate that calcite (i.e. unmineralized carbonate) formed from a normal marine carbon reservoir. However, 13C data for the manganese-bearing carbonates suggest a mixed seawater and organic source of carbon. The presence of only trace amounts of pyrite suggests sulfate reduction may have played a minor part in oxidizing organic matter. It is possible that manganese reduction was the predominant reaction that oxidized organic matter and that it released organic-derived CO2 to produce negative ??13C values and manganese carbonate mineralization. ?? 1988.
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Isotopic evidence for organic matter oxidation by manganese reduction in the formation of stratiform manganese carbonate ore