Black monazite from Taiwan

Proceedings of the Geological Society of China



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Two forms of detrital monazite are known in offshore bars in southwestern Taiwan: a yellow-green to colorless form and an unusual but abundant pelletlike form, generally black but also colored gray or brown. These black pellets, which are about 160 by 200 microns in size, are composed of fine-grained monazite crystals from 2 to 20 microns in size. The pellets are associated with highly variable amounts of discrete grains of detrital quartz, rutile, amphibole, tourmaline, and other minerals. Intergrown with the monazite are quartz, a cerium oxide mineral, chlorite, sulfides, and other minerals. Opaqueness of the pelletlike monazite is due principally to the cryptocrystalline nature of part of the monazite; only a small part of the opaqueness can be attributed to opaque inclusions. The black pelletlike monazite lacks thorium and has a high content of europium. In this respect, as in color, shape, size, and inclusions, the pelletlike monazite differs from the yellow-green detrital monazite. Despite the fact that they occur together in the littoral placers, they appear to have had different origins. The yellow-green monazite originated as an accessory mineral in plutonic rocks and has accumulated at the coast through erosion and transport. The origin of the pelletlike monazite is as yet unknown, but it is here inferred that it originated in unconsolidated coastal plain sediments through migration of cerium from the detrital monazite during weathering, and of the intermediate weight mobile rare earths from clay minerals during diagenesis. Possibly these pelletlike grains are detrital particles formed through erosion and transport from originally larger aggregates cemented by diagenetic monazite.

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Journal Article
Black monazite from Taiwan
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Proceedings of the Geological Society of China
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Geological Society of China
Publisher location:
Beijing, China
Contributing office(s):
Mineral Resources Program
10 p.
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Proceedings of the Geological Society of China
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