Thermodynamic calculation of distribution of dissolved aqueous species in the Red Sea geothermal brine provides a model of ore transport and deposition in good agreement with observed accumulations of base metal sulfides, anhydrite, and barite. The Red Sea brine is recirculated seawater that acquires high salinity by low-temperature interaction with Miocene evaporites and is subsequently heated to temperatures in excess of 200??C by interaction with recent rift zone intrusive rocks. At temperatures up to 250??C, NaSO-4 and MgSO04 are the dominant sulfur-bearing species. H2S forms by inorganic sulfate reduction at the higher temperatures but is maintained at a uniform concentration of about 2 ppm by the strength of the sulfate complexes. Chloride complexes solubilize metals at the higher temperatures, and thus sulfide and metals are carried together into the Atlantis II Deep. Below 150??C, the brine becomes supersaturated with respect to chalcopyrite, sphalerite, galena, and iron monosulfide due to chloride-complex dissociation. Sulfide precipitation rates, based on the rate of brine influx, are in good agreement with measured sedimentation rates. Anhydrite precipitates as crystalline fissure infillings from high-temperature inflowing brine. Barite forms from partial oxidation of sulfides at the interface between the lower hot brine and the transitional brine layer. ?? 1977.
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Ore transport and deposition in the Red Sea geothermal system: a geochemical model