Geochemistry of the kaolinized zone of Estrella Gaucha mine, province of Chubut

Pedro J. Maiza, Silvina A. Marfil, Esteve Cardellach, Juan Zunino

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Estrella Gaucha mine is situated 70 km of Alto Río Senguerr (Province of Chubut). It is a kaolin deposit hosted by sandy and conglomeratic tuffs of the Apeleg Formation (Lower Cretaceous). The mineralogy of the zone is very homogeneous and it is characterized by dickite almost pure, traces of alunite and quartz. There are four alteration zones. 1) silicification; 2) zone with alunite; 3) kaolinized zone and 4) zone with sericite - chlorite. In order to know the origin of the deposit a mineralogical, geochemical (major and trace elements) and stable isotope study (O and H) of the kaolinized zone was carried out. Trace element content and ratios of kaolin samples (P vs. S, Zr vs. Ti, Cr + Nb vs. Ti + Fe, and Ce + Y + La vs. Ba + Sr) suggest they are formed from hydrothermal alteration of the enclosing rocks. δ18O values of kaolin range from +5.1 to +8.8 ‰ and D varies from -82 to -89‰. These values are compatible with fluids of hydrothermal origin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-432
JournalRevista de la Asociacion Geologica Argentina
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2009


  • Geochemistry
  • Hydrothermal alteration
  • Isotopes
  • Kaolin


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