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Copper mobilization in the lower continental crust beneath cratonic margins, a Cu isotope perspective

Abstract : Lower crustal sulfide-bearing cumulates beneath the convergent plate margins represent a major copper reservoir. However, how Cu is mobilized and migrated in the lower crust is still a matter of debate. Here, we analyzed the Cu elemental and isotopic compositions of well-characterized lower crustal xenoliths from the north margin of the North China Craton to decode Cu mobilization in the lower continental crust beneath cratonic margins. The mafic lower crustal rocks have experienced varying degrees of sulfide accumulation, with Cu contents ranging from 15 to 112 ppm. The majority of lower crustal xenoliths have variable and generally low (compared to the Bulk Silicate Earth) δ65Cu (the permil deviation of the 65Cu/63Cu ratio from the NIST 976 standard) values ranging from −3.17‰ to 0.13‰ (n = 24). Many intragranular and interstitial sulfide grains in these lower crustal xenoliths were partially dissolved and oxidized along the mineral fractures and boundaries. Oxidative dissolution of sulfide will preferentially release 65Cu into the liquids, leaving the residual sulfides enriched in the light isotope, implying that oxidized melt-rock interactions could account for the light Cu isotopic compositions of the lower crustal xenoliths. Sulfide accumulation and oxidative dissolution are responsible for the enrichment, mobilization, and transfer of Cu in the lower continental crust beneath cratonic margins.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, May 11, 2022 - 11:12:05 AM
Last modification on : Friday, May 13, 2022 - 3:12:33 AM

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Ganglan Zhang, Yongsheng Liu, Frédéric Moynier, Zhaochu Hu, Yangtao Zhu, et al.. Copper mobilization in the lower continental crust beneath cratonic margins, a Cu isotope perspective. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, 2022, 322, pp.43-57. ⟨10.1016/j.gca.2022.01.031⟩. ⟨hal-03664679⟩

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