Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 38, Issue 8, pp 992–1008 | Cite as

Tracing element sources of hydrothermal mineral deposits: REE and Y distribution and Sr-Nd-Pb isotopes in fluorite from MVT deposits in the Pennine Orefield, England

  • Michael Bau
  • Rolf L. Romer
  • Volker Lüders
  • Peter Dulski


Fluorite from Mississippi Valley Type (MVT) deposits in the South Pennine Orefield, England, displays significantly different distributions of rare earths and yttrium (REY) compared to fluorite from similar MVT deposits in the North Pennine Orefield. Samples from the South Pennine Orefield display negative Ce and positive Gd and Y anomalies but lack any Eu anomaly, indicating that the REY were mobilized from relatively pure marine sedimentary carbonates. In marked contrast, fluorite from the North Pennine Orefield lacks any Ce and Gd anomalies but shows a pronounced positive Eu anomaly, suggesting that the REY were provided by different source rock(s), that the mineralizing hydrothermal fluid had experienced higher temperatures prior to fluorite precipitation, and that it was derived from deeper crustal levels in the north compared to the south. The isotopic composition of Sr in Blue John fluorite from the South Pennine Orefield suggests that Sr was mobilized from Lower Carboniferous (Tournaisian) limestones, whereas Pb isotopes suggest that in contrast to REY and Sr, Pb was derived from aluminosilicate rocks. Neither Nd nor Sr or Pb isotopes can be used to radiometrically date the formation of Blue John fluorite. All isotope systems studied indicate that the limestone host rock of this fluorite mineralization did not contribute to the trace element budget of the hydrothermal fluid. Our results show that different solutes in a natural water (hydrothermal fluid, groundwater, etc.) may be derived from different sources, and that the study of a small set of elements or isotope ratios may not provide full insight into the genesis or history of a mineralization or a hydrothermal fluid. Our data provide evidence for the uncoupling of Sr, Nd and Pb during fluid-rock interaction and fluid migration, and show that the use of plots such as 87Sr/86Sr vs. εNd. to learn about mixing relationships (as is commonly done in igneous geochemistry) is unreliable when applied to natural waters and their precipitates.


Rare earth elements Ce anomaly Isotopes MVT deposits Fluorite Pennine Orefield 



We are most grateful to Peter Möller for introducing us to the fascination and pitfalls of rare earth element geochemistry and for always providing room for independent thinking. We acknowledge the help of N.J.D. Butcher and D.G. Jones for guiding sampling field trips in the South Pennine Orefield. Special thanks go to the manager of the Blue John Caverns for permitting sampling of Blue John fluorite. We thank P. Meier, B. Richert, C. Schulz, C. Wiesenberg, and B. Zander for assistance in the lab. Constructive comments by U. Haack and B. Lehmann helped improve the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Bau
    • 1
  • Rolf L. Romer
    • 2
  • Volker Lüders
    • 2
  • Peter Dulski
    • 2
  1. 1.Geosciences and Astrophysics, School of Engineering and ScienceInternational University BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.GeoForschungsZentrum PotsdamPotsdamGermany

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