2016: Fibrous Platinum-Group Minerals in “Floating Chromitites” from the Loma Larga Ni-Laterite Deposit, Dominican Republic

Fibrous Platinum-Group Minerals in “Floating Chromitites” from the Loma Larga Ni-Laterite Deposit, Dominican Republic

Abstract

This contribution reports on the observation of enigmatic fibrous platinum-group minerals (PGM) found within a chromitite body included in limonite (“floating chromitite”) from Ni-laterites in the Dominican Republic. Fibrous PGM have a Ru-Os-Ir-Fe dominated composition and are characterized by fibrous textures explained by grain-forming fibers which are significantly longer (1–5 _m) than they are wide (~100 nm). Back-scattered electron (BSE) images suggest that these nanofibers are platinum-group elements (PGE)-bearing and form <5 _m thick layers of bundles which are oriented orthogonal to grains’ surfaces. Trace amounts of Si are most likely associated with PGE-bearing nanofibers. One characteristic fibrous PGM was studied in detail: XRD analyses point to ruthenian hexaferrum. However, the unpolished fibrous PGM shows numerous complex textures on its surface which are suggestive for neoformation processes: (i) features suggesting growth of PGE-bearing nanofibers; (ii) occurrence of PGM nanoparticles within film material (biofilm?) associated with PGE-bearing nanofibers; (iii) a Si-rich and crater-like texture hosting PGM nanoparticles and an Ir-rich accumulation of irregular shape; (iv) complex PGM nanoparticles with ragged morphologies, resembling sponge spicules and (v) oval forms (<1 _m in diameter) with included PGM nanoparticles, similar to those observed in experiments with PGE-reducing bacteria. Fibrous PGM found in the limonite may have formed due to supergene (bio-)weathering of fibrous Mg-silicates which were incorporated into desulphurized laurite during stages of serpentinization.

Keywords: PGE; PGM; fibrous; nanofibers; Ni-laterite; supergene; weathering; neoformation; Falcondo; Dominican Republic

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To Cite this article: Aiglsperger, T., Proenza, J.A., Longo, F., Font-Bardia, M., Galí, S., Roqué, J., Baurier-Aymat, S. (2016): Fibrous Platinum-Group Minerals in “Floating Chromitites” from the Loma Larga Ni-Laterite Deposit, Dominican Republic. Minerals, 6(4)-126, 1-11.

DOI: 10.3390/min6040126


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