Zinc, copper, and lead in mid-ocean ridge basalts and the source rock control on Zn/Pb in ocean-ridge hydrothermal deposits

Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta



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The contents of Zn, Cu, and Pb in mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) and the MORB source-rock control on Zn/Pb in ocean-ridge hydrothermal deposits are examined. The values of Zn, Cu, and Pb for submarine mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB) are, respectively (in ppm): average MORB-75, 75, and 0.7; West Valley, Juan de Fuca Ridge (JFR)-87, 64, and 0.5; southern JFR-120 and 0.5; and 21??N, East Pacific Rise (EPR)-73, 78, and 0.5. Values of Zn/Pb range from about 100-240 and Cu/ Pb from 100-156. In this study, Zn is found to correlate positively with TiO2 + FeO (mean square of weighted deviates, MSWD, of 1.6 for JFR basalt), and inversely with Mg number (MSWD of 3.5). Therefore, contrary to statements in the literature that Zn should be compatible in MORB, Zn is a mildly incompatible element and must be enriched in the glass phase relative to olivine as Zn does not fit into the other major phenocryst phase, plagioclase. In the source of MORB, Zn likely is most enriched in oxides: spinel, magnetite, and titanomagnetite. Copper generally does not correlate well with other elements in most MORB data examined. When differentiation is dominated by olivine, Cu has a tendency to behave incompatibly (e.g., at Mg numbers > 70), but, overall, Cu shows some tendency towards being a compatible element, particularly along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a behavior presumably due to separation of sulfides in which Cu (but not Zn) is markedly enriched. Copper thus may be in dispersed sulfides in the source of MORB. Ocean ridges provide important data on source-rock controls for sulfide deposits because, in sediment-starved ridges, much is known about the possible source rocks and mineralization is presently occurring. In contrast to Zn/Pb ~5 in continental hot Cl-rich brines, Zn/Pb in the hottest sediment-starved ridge black smoker hydrothermal fluids at 21 ??N, EPR is about 110, similar to local MORB (145), but Cu/Pb is closer to 30, possibly due to subsurface deposition of Cu. At the JFR, the best value of Zn/Pb in the hydrothermal fluids is about 175, again similar to local MORB (240), but Cu is very low in the fluids that are at temperatures less than 300??C. The large MORB-like Zn/Pb in the hottest black-smoker fluids suggests a source-rock control for the metals that prohibits significant galena in the black-smoker deposits of sediment-starved ridges. In contrast, exhalative deposits on sediment-swamped ridges have significant galena; its presence is suggestive of Pb derivation from sediments, an origin supported by Pb isotope studies of LeHuray and colleagues in 1988. ?? 1994.

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Zinc, copper, and lead in mid-ocean ridge basalts and the source rock control on Zn/Pb in ocean-ridge hydrothermal deposits
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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
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Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
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