Abstract

We identified submicrometer-sized framboidal sphalerite (ZnS) below the base of supergene oxidation in a Carlin-type gold deposit of Eocene age in Nevada, United States, where the framboidal sphalerite forms a blanket-like body containing >400,000 metric tons of zinc. Framboidal sphalerite <0.1 μm in diameter, formed in the early Miocene, ranges from <0.1 to 0.35 mol% FeS; the δ34S values range from −25‰ to −70‰, the lowest values measured in a marine or terrestrial environment. These S isotope data demonstrate the involvement of sulfate-reducing bacteria and provide the first documentation that sphalerite can form significant supergene sulfide-enrichment blankets.

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