The local structure of Ta(V) in high-temperature fluoride- and chloride-bearing acidic solutions was investigated using in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS). All XAS spectra were collected from two solutions, designated A and B, at beamline ID-20-C at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory. Spectra were collected from solution A at 350 and 400 °C and from solution B at 25, 360, and 400 °C after the solutions were sealed in a hydrothermal diamond anvil cell. Solution A was prepared by dissolving Ta2O5 powder in 5% HF solution; solution B consisted of TaCl5 dissolved in 2% HF. The dominant tantalum species in solution A at elevated temperatures was TaF83–. In contrast, TaCl6, which was the dominant complex in solution B at room temperature, disappeared as hydroxide complexes with an average ligand number between 5 and 7 became the dominant species at 350 and 400 °C. The XAS results confirm the previously recognized effect of fluoride activity on Ta speciation in hydrothermal fluids and suggest that both fluoride and hydroxide complexes play an important role in the transport of Ta in acidic fluoride-bearing solutions involved in the formation of mineralized mica-rich replacement units in granitic pegmatites.

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