Supergene mineralogy and processes in the San Xavier mine area, Pima County, Arizona
AuthorArnold, Leavitt Clark, 1940-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis is a study of the supergene mineralogy of the San Xavier West mine located in the Pima mining district, Pima County, Arizona. The number and composition of secondary species collected are found to be closely related to the relative amounts of the various primary minerals and to the manner in which they were emplaced in the host rock. Supergene mineral species were selected that appeared to be in equilibrium with their environment, and certain assumptions are made concerning the stability fields of these minerals. The equilibrium conditions in most cases can be narrowed and often closely defined by combining the stability fields of several secondary minerals. On this basis, two acid environments and one alkaline environment are found to exist and are separable on the basis of mineralogy. The fields of chalcanthite and melanterite define a highly acid environment while those of goslarite and malachite define an environment of lower acidity. The association of calcite, rosasite, hemimorphite, and malachite indicate an alkaline environment. The acidity of the environments is principally determined by the amount of pyrite present, and pH may be lower than 3 if pyrite is abundant and reactive carbonate material lacking. Also, knowledge of stability relations allowed the history of enrichment and subsequent oxidation to be followed in a case where a transitional species has been removed from reaction by inclusions with gypsum.