Mineralogy and geochemistry of two metamorphosed sedimentary manganese deposits, Sierra Nevada, California, USA

LITHOS
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Abstract

Laminated to massive rhodochrosite, hausmannite, and Mn-silicates from the Smith prospect and Manga-Chrome mine, Sierra Nevada, California were deposited as ocean floor sediments associated with chert and shale. The principal lithologies at Smith are chert, argillite, rhodochrosite-, hausmannite- and chlorite-rich layers, and relatively uncommon layers of jacobsite. The Manga-Chrome mine also contains layers rich in manganoan calcite and caryopilite. Tephroite, rhodonite, spessartine, and accessory alleghanyite and sonolite formed during metamorphism. Volcaniclastic components are present at Manga-Chrome as metavolcanic clasts and as Mn-poor, red, garnet- and hematite-rich layers. There is no evidence, such as relict lithologies, that Mn was introduced into Mn-poor lithologies such as chert, limestone or mudstone. Replacement of Mn-poor phases by Mn-rich phases is observed only in the groundmass of volcanic clasts that appear to have fallen into soft Mn-rich mud. Manganiferous samples from the Smith prospect and Manga-Chrome mine have high Mn Fe and low concentrations of Ni, Cu, Zn, Co, U, Th and the rare-earth elements that are similar to concentrations reported from other ancient Mn deposits found in chert-greenstone complexes and from manganiferous sediments and crusts that are forming near modern sea floor vents. The Sierra Nevada deposits formed as precipitates of Mn-rich sediments on the sea floor, probably from mixtures of circulating hydrothermal fluids and seawater. The composition of a metabasalt from the Smith prospect is consistent with those of island-arc tholeiites. Metavolcanic clasts from the Manga-Chrome mine are compositionally distinct from the Smith metabasalt and have alkaline to calc-alkaline affinities. A back-arc basin is considered to be the most likely paleoenvironment for the formation of the Mn-rich lenses at the Manga-Chrome mine and, by association, the Smith prospect. Layers of rhodochrosite, hausmannite and chert preserve the composition and some textures of the sedimentary protoliths at both Sierra Nevada deposits. Jacobsite-rich layers probably represent a Fe-rich protolith. Caryopilite and manganoan calcite represent additional protoliths at the Manga-Chrome mine. The metamorphic assemblage prehnite-chlorite-epidote-calcite in a metabasalt from the Smith prospect constrains regional metamorphic conditions to a maximum temperature of 325??C and a pressure of 2 kbar. Slightly higher temperatures are indicated by the presence of actinolite in another metabasalt. Compositions of Mn-rich minerals in Smith samples are consistent with these metamorphic conditions. ?? 1992.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mineralogy and geochemistry of two metamorphosed sedimentary manganese deposits, Sierra Nevada, California, USA
Series title LITHOS
DOI 10.1016/0024-4937(92)90034-V
Volume 29
Issue 1-2
Year Published 1992
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title LITHOS
First page 57
Last page 85
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