The low-grade carbonate banded iron formation of the Aguas Claras mine, from the transition of the Caûe to the Gandarela Formation (2.4 Ga, Itabira Group, Brazil), is composed of porous and microsparitic dolomite, quartz, iron oxides and (oxy)hydroxides. Iron oxides occur as bands, veins and as inclusions in the dolomite crystals, whereas iron (oxy)hydroxides only occur as inclusions. Combined mineralogical analyses (X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, focused-ion-beam thinning and transmission electron microscopy) identified the inclusions in porous dolomite as hematite and minor goethite and/or ferrihydrite, whereas microsparitic dolomite only hosts hematite. Curie balance analysis on whole rock reveals that, at temperatures between ∼680 °C and ∼900 °C, hematite and iron (oxy)hydroxide inclusions react with the surrounding dolomite resulting in the assemblage: magnesioferrite (MgFe2O4), srebrodolskite (Ca2Fe2O5), lime (CaO), portlandite (Ca(OH)2) and periclase (MgO), whereas hematite and pure dolomite do so only at ∼900 °C. This difference is an indirect argument for the presence of iron hydroxide inclusions within the dolomite. The inclusions are either single crystals or form clusters in pores. The fast-Fourier-transform diffraction pattern of one single crystal can be indexed as goethite and ferrihydrite. This finding suggests an incipient solid-state transformation of ferrihydrite to goethite rather than a dissolution-precipitation process. It is suggested that the clustered hematite and the goethite/ferrihydrite precipitated from Fe- and Si-bearing fluid inclusions, which were trapped during early diagenesis at about 2.4 Ga under oxygenated conditions. Microstructural evidence (e.g. dislocations in dolomite from hematite inclusions) point to maximum T < 420 °C. The preservation of goethite/ferrihydrite clustered inclusions during this low-temperature event may be due to their silica contents increasing their stability.

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