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Sulfide composition and phase relations in the Fe-Ni-Cu ore deposits of the Ivrea-Verbano basic complex (western Alps, Italy)


The bulk composition, mineralogy and mineral chemistry of base-metal sulfides have been investigated in the Fe-Ni-(Cu) ore deposits of the Ivrea-Verbano basic complex.

The sulfide ores mostly display textural evidence of having been primarily deposited as an immiscible melt. Bulk compositions of the ores indicate that considerably low Ni/Fe and Ni/Co ratios are found in deposits developed close to metasedimentary country rocks, possibly as a result of mixing with sedimentary sulfur.

Phase relations of primary sulfides indicate that early crystallization of the ore was dominated by a monosulfide solid solution (Mss) with a pyrrhotite composition, from which pentlandite and chalcopyrite were formed through subsolidus exsolution. Pentlandite from contaminated ores is typically enriched in Co. Troilite and hexagonal intermediate pyrrhotite intergrowths frequently occur due to low-temperature equilibration of metal-rich pyrrhotites, suggesting a low S fugacity of the original sulfide melt.

The sulfides may be locally mobilized and redeposited along shear zones within the same host rock, giving rise to fairly massive ores having a typical cemented-breccia texture. Bulk composition and assemblages suggest that mobilization occurred at various temperatures during the cooling history of the ore, when sulfides were still in the molten state or at a lower temperature under the influence of abundant deuteric fluids. In this last case, growth of pyrite is seen as being possibly due to sulfurization and/or oxidation.

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Garuti, G., Fiandri, P. & Rossi, A. Sulfide composition and phase relations in the Fe-Ni-Cu ore deposits of the Ivrea-Verbano basic complex (western Alps, Italy). Mineral. Deposita 21, 22–34 (1986).

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  • Sulfide
  • Pyrite
  • Shear Zone
  • Bulk Composition
  • Cooling History