Abstract

A comparative analysis of morphology and geochemistry was made for gold from the primary ores and weathering crust of the Suzdal’ gold deposit, Eastern Kazakhstan. The deposit is localized in Carboniferous carbonaceous-terrigenous strata and is of gold-sulfide type. Study of gold from primary ores showed that it occurs mainly in two species: free and so-called invisible. Free gold is crystallomorphic segregations and irregular-shaped grains up to tens of microns in size; it occurs in intergrowths with sulfides, quartz, carbonate, and mica-chlorite aggregate. Most of gold particles have a fineness of 930–980‰, with some grains showing wide variations in composition. Invisible gold (probably chemically combined) is present in fine-acicular arsenopyrite and, less frequently, pyrite.

Being transported to the weathering crust, all this gold served as a source for “neogenic” gold of diverse morphologic forms. We recognized crystalline (isometric, prismatic, acicular, and tabular) particles and drusoid gold aggregates in the form of exotic intergrowths of crystallomorphic and sinter-shelly grains. The grains tend to coarsen from bottom to top of the weathering crust. Several generations of gold of different granulometric classes are observed. We have revealed seed and layer growth and dissolution structures in crystals of early generations overgrown with fine grains. All these gold varieties are associated with hypergene minerals. Most of this gold is of high fineness (on the average, 995‰). The hypergene gold particles are chemically homogeneous high-grade, without rims.

The results of studies suggest that the high-grade hypergene gold formed in the weathering crust as a result of the dissolution of invisible gold of sulfides and its local redistribution and deposition in oxidizing media. This is also evidenced from the tendency of gold to coarsen from bottom to top of the weathering crust. A distinctive feature of secondary gold is well-expressed crystals and their great diversity.

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