Abstract

Supergene minerals form under near-ambient conditions on the Earth's surface. Supergene mineralization is controlled by the parent rock composition, climatic conditions, geomorphological environment, and chemical compounds added during mineral processing. They appear in alteration zones called “orecretes.” Bronze Age miners exploited these easily accessible high-grade soft ores for Fe, Cu, Pb, and Ag. Some supergene minerals can also grow in poorly ventilated mining galleries and shafts, coat metal mining artifacts and smelting residues, and form from disastrous blasts and fires in ancient mining settlements. Supergene deposits bridge the gap between humans and metal resources at the interface between rock, soil, air, water, and living organisms. These deposits provide essential clues to geological, environmental, and archeological studies.

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