Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 231–241 | Cite as

Case history of deep-burial sulfide mineralization in the northern Appalachian Basin

  • Gerald M. Friedman


In the northern Appalachian Basin minor concentrations of sulfide mineralization occur throughout most of the undeformed strata, especially those composed of carbonate rock. In a hostrock of gray, dense, hard, massive, fine-grained dolostone (dolomicrite) the Lockport Formation (Middle Silurian) contains a remarkable mineral suite filling fractures, vugs, and cavities, especially a geode filling of former leached anhydrite nodules. The minerals include saddle dolomite, sphalerite, galena, marcasite, pyrite, fluorite, anhydrite and gypsum (mostly selenite), calcite, quartz, barite and celestite.

Fluid inclusions trapped during the growth of this mineral assemblage indicate that the precipitating fluids were very hot and highly saline; temperatures hovered near 150°C and the salinity exceeded that of seawater by three to seven times. Considering a paleogeothermal gradient of 26°C/km (Friedman and Sanders, 1982; Friedman 1987a) maximum burial depth of the Lockport Formation, at which the mineral assemblage probably formed, was 5 km. Investigators have concluded that most MVT deposits precipitated 250 to 200 m. y. ago from hot brines but migrated through sedimentary strata (Geol. Soc. America, 1989). This age coincides with the Allegheny orogeny. Uplift was accompanied by erosion. Further uplift and erosion, probably during the Cretaceous and Late Tertiary, brought this formerly deeply buried mineral deposit to the present land surface. This paper shows how through uplift and erosion a mineral deposit that formed at the great depth of 5 km was brought to the earth’s surface.


Dolomite Fluid Inclusion Selenite Anhydrite Galena 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald M. Friedman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeologyBrooklyn College-City University of New YorkBrooklyn
  2. 2.Northeastern Science Foundationaffiliated with Brooklyn College of the City University of New YorkTroy

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