Scientific article
Open access

Nanoscale distribution of Ge in Cu-rich sphalerite

Published inGeochimica et cosmochimica acta, vol. 346, p. 223-230
Publication date2023-04

A large proportion of the critical elements resources Ge, Ga, and In are associated with sphalerite in Pb-Zn ore deposits. Germanium in sphalerite has been proposed to be structurally bound in the crystal lattice. Using a combination of microstructural, geochemical and nanoscale observations, we show that Ge can be hosted in sphalerite crystal structure as well as nanoparticles of briartite (Cu2(Zn,Fe)GeS4). The structurally-bound Ge was preserved in undeformed sphalerite grains from the Saint-Salvy Pb-Zn vein deposit (France), whereas the briartite nanoparticles were observed in metamorphosed sphalerite from Arre. The briartite nanoparticles likely exsolved from sphalerite during the Pyrenean-Alpine metamorphism and deformation. The presence of nanoparticles may harden the sphalerite during crystalplastic deformation and help to preserve the critical elements resources of Pb-Zn deposits during metamorphism.

Citation (ISO format)
FOUGEROUSE, Denis et al. Nanoscale distribution of Ge in Cu-rich sphalerite. In: Geochimica et cosmochimica acta, 2023, vol. 346, p. 223–230. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2023.02.011
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ISSN of the journal0016-7037

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