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Native gold in Hawaiian alkalic magma

Economic Geology

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Abstract

Native gold found in fresh basanite glass from the early submarine phase of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, may be the first documented case of the transport of gold as a distinct precious metal phase in a mantle-derived magma. The gold-bearing glass is a grain in bedded volcanic glass sandstone (Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC) sample S508-R3) collected by the submersible Shinkai 6500 at 3879 m depth off Kilauea's south flank. Extensive outcrops there expose debris-flow breccias and sandstones containing submarine-erupted alkalic rock fragments and glasses from early Kilauea. Precipitation of an immiscible gold liquid resulted from resorption of magmatic sulfides during crystallization-differentiation, with consequent liberation of sulfide-hosted gold. Elevated whole-rock gold concentrations (to 36 ppb) for fresh lavas and clasts from early Kilauea further show that some magmas erupted at the beginning stages of Hawaiian shield volcanoes were distinctly gold rich, most likely owing to limited residual sulfide in their mantle source. Alkalic magmas at other ocean islands may also be gold rich, and oceanic hot-spot provinces may contain underappreciated gold resources.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Native gold in Hawaiian alkalic magma
Series title:
Economic Geology
Volume
98
Issue:
3
Year Published:
2003
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Economic Geology
First page:
643
Last page:
648
Number of Pages:
6