Reactive transport modeling and hydrothermal karst genesis: The example of the Rocabruna barite deposit (Eastern Pyrenees)

M. Corbella, C. Ayora, E. Cardellach, A. Soler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In western Europe and North Africa, many sulfide and barite deposits appear to be related to the pre-Triassic paleosurface. Some of these mineralizations have traditionally been interpreted as the result of mineral fillings of previously formed karstic cavities. However, reactive transport modeling suggests that those minerals may have originated at depth and simultaneous with the cavity in the carbonate rocks. Numerical simulations using the Rocabruna deposit as an example recreate the genesis of such cavities and their filling by new minerals in a hydrothermal environment. Two warm (T = 150 °C) fluids with different compositions but both saturated with dolomite were allowed to mix at a fracture intersection; the resulting solution strongly corroded the dolomite host rock and was able to create large voids in a hundred thousand year time scale. Our results show that equidimensional cavities originate from mixtures with equal fluxes of the contributing fluids, but elongated dissolution zones appear when the flux ratios were different from unity and the slowest flow direction coincided with the longest dimension of the void. Moreover, when the fluid mixture was dominated by a diluted and slightly alkaline groundwater instead of a 50-50 mixture with an acidic brine, dolomite dissolution or corrosion was more effective. Sulfide minerals precipitate around cavity walls replacing the host dolostone as the dolomite dissolution reaction couples with that of sulfide precipitation. This coupling produces some porosity, which is negligible compared to that caused by the mixing itself. Barite may also precipitate inside the forming cavity, but as the sulfate mineral precipitation reaction is not coupled with that of dolomite dissolution, barite grows in open space. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-125
JournalChemical Geology
Volume233
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2006

Keywords

  • Barite
  • Carbonate corrosion
  • Fluid mixing
  • Hydrothermal karst
  • Rocabruna deposit
  • Sulfide

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