Chapter 23: Chemical weathering of Cu, Fe, and Pb sulfides, southern Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica
Published:January 01, 1992
Walter R. Vennum, James M. Nishi, 1992. "Chapter 23: Chemical weathering of Cu, Fe, and Pb sulfides, southern Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica", Geology and Paleontology of the Ellsworth Mountains, West Antarctica, G. F. Webers, C. Craddock, J. F. Splettstoesser
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Forty-eight samples of green blue, yellow, orange, and red surficial salts and efflorescences were collected at widely scattered localities in the southern half of the Heritage Range of the Ellsworth Mountains. Green and blue salts include azurite, chalcanthite, malachite, paratacamite, and malachite-paratacamite mixtures. Yellow and orange salts include alunogen, fibroferrite, an aragonite-natrojarosite mixture, natrojarosite-gypsum mixtures (± quartz), and an anglesite-beaverite mixture. All red salts are hematite-quartz mixtures (± muscovite, ± calcite). All salts form by the oxidation of pyrite, chalcopyrite, or galena and then are preserved by the cold, arid Antarctic climate. The assemblage of copper salts is different from that recently described from the Orville Coast (atacamite, antlerite, brochantite, plancheite) 500 km to the northeast. The difference in copper salts found at these two localities, coupled with studies of marine-derived Antarctic aerosols, suggests that malachite, azurite, and chalcanthite will be the common secondary copper minerals found deeper in the Antarctic interior and that copper chloride compounds will become less abundant farther away from the coast. This is the second reported occurrence of fibroferrite and the first reported occurrence of alunogen, anglesite, beaverite, chalcanthite, and paratacamite from Antarctica.