Bromine and chlorine are important halogens for fluid source identification in the Earth's crust, but until recently we lacked routine analytical techniques to determine the concentration of these elements in situ on a micrometer scale in minerals and fluid inclusions. In this study, we evaluate the potential of in situ Cl and Br measurements by LA-ICP-MS through analysis of a range of scapolite grains with known Cl and Br concentrations. We assess the effects of varying spot sizes, variable plasma energy and resolve the contribution of polyatomic interferences on Br measurements. Using well-characterised natural scapolite standards, we show that LA-ICP-MS analysis allows measurement of Br and Cl concentrations in scapolite, and fluid inclusions as small as 16 μm in diameter and potentially in sodalite and a variety of other minerals, such as apatite, biotite, and amphibole. As a demonstration of the accuracy and potential of Cl and Br analyses by LA-ICP-MS, we analysed natural fluid inclusions hosted in sphalerite and compared them to crush and leach ion chromatography Cl/Br analyses. Limit of detection for Br is ~8 μg g−1, whereas relatively high Cl concentrations (> 500 μg g−1) are required for quantification by LA-ICP-MS. In general, our LA-ICP-MS fluid inclusion results agree well with ion chromatography (IC) data. Additionally, combined cathodoluminescence and LA-ICP-MS analyses on natural scapolites within a well-studied regional metamorphic suite in South Australia demonstrate that Cl and Br can be quantified with a ~25 μm resolution in natural minerals. This technique can be applied to resolve a range of hydrothermal geology problems, including determining the origins of ore forming brines and ore deposition processes, mapping metamorphic and hydrothermal fluid provinces and pathways, and constraining the effects of fluid–rock reactions and fluid mixing.
Additional publication details
In situ quantification of Br and Cl in minerals and fluid inclusions by LA-ICP-MS: a powerful tool to identify fluid sources
Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center