Isotopic studies of authigenic sulfides, silicates and carbonates, and calcite and pyrite veinlets in the Creede Formation, San Juan Mountains, Southwest Colorado

GSA Special Papers

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DOI: 10.1130/0-8137-2346-9.267



Sulfur isotope analysis of authigenic pyrite in the Creede Formation documents its precipitation by the reaction between iron in the volcaniclastic sediments and H2S formed through bacteriogenic reduction of sulfate added to the lake during and immediately following repeated volcanic eruptions during sedimentation. Pyrite veinlets in the underlying Snowshoe Mountain Tuff were formed by the percolation of H2S-bearing pore waters into fractures in the tuff. Conventional analyses of bulk samples of authigenic pyrite range from -20.4% to 34.5% essentially equivalent to the range of -30% to 40% determined using SHRIMP microprobe techniques. Conventional analyses of bulk samples of pyrite from veinlets in the Snowshow Mountain Tiff range from -3.5% to 17.6% much more limited than the ranges of -23% to 111% and -15.6% to 67.0% determined by SHRIMP and laser ablation microbeam techniques, respectively. The extreme range of δ34S for the veinlets is interpreted to be the result of continued fractionation of the already 34S-depleted pore water. Oxygen isotope analysis of authigenic smectite, kaolinite, and K-feldspar together with fluid-inclusion temperatures and oxygen isotope analysis of calcite coexisting with kaolinite indicate that the smectites formed early during burial diagenesis, in accord with petrographic observations. The 40Ar/39Ar dating of K-feldspar, concorfance of K-feldspar, kaolinite, and calcite δ18O values, and fluid-inclusion temperatures in calcite, indicate that the sediments at core hole CCM-1 were subjected to a hydrothermal event at 17.6 Ma. The minerals formed oxygen-shifted meteoric waters with δ18O values of ~-9% Smecities at CCM-1 at least partially exchanged with these waters. Carbon and oxygen isotope analysis of authigenic calcites in the Creede Formation show that they formed over a wide range of temperatures from fluids having a wide range of isotopic composition, presumably over an extended period time. Some of the cements apparently formed very late from unexchanged meteoric water. Concretions and possibly some cements at CCM-1 appear to have exchanged with the 17.6 Ma oxygen-shifted hydrothermal fluids. Such exchange is consistent with evidence that lacustrine carbonates at CCM-1 exchanged with low 18O waters, whereas those at CCM-2 underwent little, if any, exchange. The δ13C-δ18O values for calcite veinlets in the Creede Formation are similar to those for authegenic calcites. Fluid-inclusion temperatures and δ18O indicate that some were deposited during the 17.6 Ma hydrothermal event and others from unexchanged meteoric water at a later date. The isotope studies confirm that part of the model of Rye et al., proposing that the barites in the southern end of the Creede Mining District were formed by mixing of the Creede hydrotermal system with Lake Creede pore of lake waters. The silicate and carbonate isotope data indicate that the pores of the Creede Formation were occupied by at least three isotopically distinct water since the time of deposition. The original pore fluids were probably shifted to lower δ18O values during burial diagensis as a result of the hydrolysis of the volcanic glass to for smectites and other hydrous silicates. During or prior to a 17.6 Ma hydrothermal event in the vicinity of CCM-1, the Creede Formation was flushed with oxygen-shifted meteoric water, possibly related to the breaching of the east side of the caldera wall sometime between 20 and 22 Ma. Later, the Creede Formation was again flushed, this time with unexchanged meteoric water with δD-δ18O values of present-day waters, possibly during the incision of the Rio Grande drainage during uplifting of the southern Rocky Mountains beginning about 5 Ma.

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Isotopic studies of authigenic sulfides, silicates and carbonates, and calcite and pyrite veinlets in the Creede Formation, San Juan Mountains, Southwest Colorado
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GSA Special Papers
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Geological Society of America
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Denver Federal Center
20 p.
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