The mechanism of precipitation is an important aspect of any genetic model for Mississippi Valley-type deposits. Yet most of the precipitation mechanisms for minerals in the Mississippi Valley-type association have serious flaws. Solution mixing would require an unlikely series of solutions to account for the various minerals in the ores, and it does not account for the universal occurrence of organic matter in the ores nor for the oxidation state of sulfur in pyrite in the ores. Sulfate reduction addresses some of these problems, but is inconsistent with kinetic data and could not be reversed to account for the oscillations between precipitation and dissolution of sulfide minerals in the ores. Carbon dioxide effervescence does not address the precipitation of most minerals in the ores, and all of the evidence for effervescence may be explained in other ways. Cooling of the mineralizing solution could precipitate many minerals, but fluid inclusion data suggest that, in many deposits, the solution did not cool significantly as any particular stage formed. A credible genetic model also must explain why all of the minerals precipitated at the same sites; any combination of the above mechanisms which suggests that unrelated mechanisms occurred at the same sites by coincidence is unlikely. The most reasonable scenario is that a hot, thiosulfate-bearing mineralizing solution reacted in various ways with organic matter at the sites of mineralization to precipitate the ore minerals. The organic matter acted as a reductant, source of carbon dioxide, source of organic acids, and a substrate for bacterial metabolism of thiosulfate in various stages of mineralization. Thus organic matter links all stages of the mineralization to the same sites. ?? 1995 Elsevier Science B.V.
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Evaluation of proposed precipitation mechanisms for Mississippi Valley-type deposits