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Book Chapter

Introduction to Stable Isotope Applications in Hydrothermal Systems

By
Andrew R. Campbell
Andrew R. Campbell
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, Socorro, New Mexico 87801
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Peter B. Larson
Peter B. Larson
Department of Geology, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-2812
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Published:
January 01, 1998

Abstract

Stable isotope and ore deposit studies have a long common history because many of the early developments in the application of stable isotopes to geological problems were from investigations of ore forming processes. Stable isotopes have now become an integral part of studying ore deposits. They provide information in four critical areas: (1) temperature of mineral deposition, (2) sources of the hydrothermal fluids, (3) sources of sulfur and carbon (and by extrapolation, metals), and (4) water-wall rock interactions. One of the most important roles that hydrogen and oxygen isotope studies have played is in the modern recognition that shallow, surface derived fluids are important components in many ore deposits. As stable isotope labs have become automated and the cost per analysis dropped, stable isotopes are also being used more commonly in mineral exploration. For example, isotopes can be used to define alteration halos and to aid in discriminating between mineralized and unmineralized quartz veins.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a basis for understanding and utilizing light stable isotope data in the study of ore deposits. No previous knowledge of stable isotope geochemistry is assumed. However, one must recognize that stable isotopes can seldom provide unequivocal answers by themselves, and thus must be used in conjunction with other geological, mineralogical, petrological, and geochemical data. In other words, the knowledge in this chapter needs to be integrated with the types of studies described in the other chapters in this book in order to make sound interpretations of stable isotope data.

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Contents

Reviews in Economic Geology

Techniques in Hydrothermal Ore Deposits Geology

Jeremy P. Richards
Jeremy P. Richards
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E3
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Peter B. Larson
Peter B. Larson
Department of Geology Washington State University Pullman, Washington 99164
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Society of Economic Geologists
Volume
10
ISBN electronic:
9781629490175
Publication date:
January 01, 1998

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