Behaviour of major, minor and trace elements (including REEs) during kaolinization processes at Zonouz deposit, northeast of Marand, East Azarbaidjan province
Authors: Vahideh Alipour; Ali Abedini
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The Zonouz kaolin deposit is located ~15 km northeast of Marand, East-Azarbaidjan province. Based on physical features in field investigations, such as color, five distinct kaolin types including (1) white, (2) lemon, (3) gray, (4) brown, and (5) yellow are distinguished in the deposit. Field evidence and petrographic studies indicate that the deposit is genetically close to trachy-andesite rocks. According to mineralogical data, the deposit contains quartz, kaolinite, montmorillonite, calcite, pyrophyllite, chlorite, muscovite-illite, dolomite, hematite, and anatase minerals. Geochemical data indicate that function of alteration processes on trachy-andesite rocks during development of Zonouz ore deposit was accompanied by leaching of elements such as Al, Na, K, Rb, Ba, V, Hf, Cu, Zr, Tm, Yb, and Lu, enrichment of elements such as U, Nb, and Ta, and leaching-fixation of elements such as Si, Fe, Ca, Mg, Ti, Mn, P, Cs, Sr, Th, Co, Cr, Ni, Y, Ga, LREE, Tb, Dy, Ho, and Er. Incorporation of obtained results from mineralogical and geochemical studies show that physico-chemical conditions of alteration environment, the relative stability of primary minerals, surface adsorption, preferential sorption by metallic oxides, existing of organic matters, scavenging and concentration processes, and fixation in neomorphic mineralogical phases played important role in distribution of elements in the deposit. Geochemical studies show that development of the deposit is relative to two types of processes, (1) hypogene and (2) supergene. The distribution pattern of REEs indicates that differentiation degree of LREEs from HREEs in supergene kaolins is more than hypogene kaolins. Geochemical studies indicate that minerals such as Mn-oxides, zircon, anatase, hematite, cerianite, and secondary phosphates (monazite, rhabdophane, churchite, and zenotime) are the potential hosts for rare earth elements in this deposit.