Abstract

Intermediate levels of the Larga-Faţa Băii field, Metaliferi Mts., Romania, are host to epithermal vein mineralization, small skarn-like bodies and ‘geode’-like replacement ores, that together form a complex hydrothermal system rooted in the subjacent andesite stock. Silver-Pb-Bi sulphosalts, some with Sb and/or Se, are intimately associated with hessite and a range of Bi-tellurides with Bi/(Te+S+Se) ⩽1 (tetradymite, tellurobismuthite, tsumoite, Pb-free rucklidgeite) within all these ore types. Lillianite homologues, both ordered 4L and 7L derivatives (lillianite, gustavite), and disordered varieties are the most abundant sulphosalts, with subordinate bismuthinite derivatives (aikinite, krupkaite, bismuthinite). An exceptionally Ag-rich lillianite homologue, intimately intergrown with tetradymite and hessite, is identified as treasureite on the basis of chemical composition. Porphyry-style mineralization from 600 m beneath the studied level contains rucklidgeite as the single stable Bi-telluride. The trace mineralogy of the system is suggestive of a hydrothermal system strongly zoned with respect to fTe2 and, to a lesser extent, also fS2. Mineralogical and textural evidence suggests that initial crystallization took place at temperatures in excess of 400°C. The association of gold with Bi-minerals is linked to the role of Bimelt as a scavenger for gold, and deposition within ‘droplets’ simultaneous with the formation of arsenopyrite from löllingite + pyrrhotite. Both Bi-tellurosulphides and sulphosalts are commonly non-stoichiometric, a fact that can be correlated with order-disorder in both series. When widely distributed, as in the Larga system, trace amounts of Bi-minerals (sulphosalts, tellurides/ tellurosulphides) have considerable, untapped potential as tracers of the physical-chemical character of an evolving hydrothermal system.

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