Abstract

New spectrographic analyses and previously published information provided data concerning elements present in sphalerite in minor amounts. The variation in minor element content is correlated with the type of mineral deposit in which the sphalerite occurs. Antimony, mercury, thallium, and arsenic are largely restricted to sphalerite from mineral deposits commonly considered to have formed at low temperatures. Other elements are widely distributed in sphalerite from many types of deposits. The manganese concentration is greatest in sphalerite from high temperature occurrences, indium in that from mesothermal deposits, and gallium and germanium increase with decreasing temperature of deposition. High concentrations of cadmium and tin seem most likely to occur in sphalerite from deposits of other than low temperature type. Mississippi Valley deposits, European zinc ores of Mississippi Valley type, and barite deposits of Central Kentucky are all of low temperature origin. Sphalerite from each of these metallogenetic regions contains minor elements of distinctive kind and amount.The minor element content of sphalerite can be related not only to the temperature at which the sphalerite is formed, but also, and perhaps in large part, to the chemical character of the ore-bearing solutions of each metallogenetic province.

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