Abstract

The deepest terminations of the Mount Rudnaya subvertical massive sulfide offshoots of the Norilsk 1 orebody are composed of exceptionally fine grained sulfides that are believed to be natural quenched sulfide solid solutions. Copper-rich intermediate solid solution (ISS) and Fe-rich monosulfide solid solution (MSS) form an equigranular and lamellar matrix hosting MSS- and ISS-dominant globules. The nonstoichiometric chemical compositions of the solid solutions plot within their high-temperature fields known from experiments. MSS contains 19 to 35 wt % Ni, 0.09 to 0.45 wt % Co, and up to 0.6 wt % Cu and is heterogeneously enriched in Rh (up to 32 ppm), Ir (up to 0.6 ppm), Pt (up to 65 ppm), and Pd (up to 168 ppm). ISS occurs as the lamellar intergrowths of the chalcopyrite (Ccpss) and cubanite (Cubss) solid solutions, which bear up to 4.74 wt % Ni and 0.2 wt % Co and are heterogeneously enriched in Zn, Ag, and In. The assemblage of platinum group minerals (PGMs) is hosted mostly in the ISS and is dominated by Pt-Fe alloys and minerals of the rustenburgite-atokite series, like the set of PGMs at the Norilsk 1 deposit. Similar Pt-Pd-Sn compounds in the laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) spectra of profiles through MSS and ISS are interpreted to be trapped microinclusions.

The pentlandite contains up to 0.13 wt % Pt, up to 4.62 wt % Pd, <0.53 wt % Co, and <0.4 wt % Cu according to electron microprobe analysis. LA-ICP-MS data and mapping show that Pd content in the pentlandite increases toward contacts with ISS and decreases toward contacts with MSS, supporting a reaction origin of pentlandite. The wide variations of the concentrations of major and trace elements in the solid solutions, as well as the coexistence of Pd-poor (a few ppm Pd) and Pd-rich (over 4.62 wt % Pd) pentlandite within a single sample, seem to characterize the different generations of the MSS to MSS-ISS globules, antecrysts, and phenocrysts with the distinct histories of enrichment due to exchange with fractionated Cu-platinum group element-rich residue. The directional distribution of Pd of high-temperature primary magmatic origin is preserved due to rapid quenching of the sulfides from ~650°C.

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