Abstract

We document an example of serpentinization of olivine and orthopyroxene that produced virtually no magnetite, but instead relatively Fe-rich yellow-colored lizardite (XFe = 0.08 to 0.17), and the native Fe-Ni-Co metals, awaruite and wairauite. Lizardite’s identity was confirmed by micro-Raman spectroscopy, although peaks are broad. Electron microprobe analyses of the lizardite yield a continuous compositional trend of formula contents suggestive of the progressive uptake of Fe3+ exclusively on M sites, where it is charge balanced by vacancies. Although these observations are unusual, this secondary mineral assemblage can be explained in terms of the likely intensive variables T, fH2O, fH2, and aSiO2 attending the alteration. The absence of magnetite in serpentinization does not signify a lack of oxidation. By forming the hydrated phase-component ferri-lizardite instead of magnetite from the fayalite and ferrosilite components, the yield of hydrogen is reduced by two-thirds. The usual inverse correlation of rock density with magnetic susceptibility is unlikely to be the case in this kind of serpentinization.

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