Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 49, Issue 7, pp 861–877 | Cite as

Mineralisation of amethyst-bearing geodes in Ametista do Sul (Brazil) from low-temperature sedimentary brines: evidence from monophase liquid inclusions and stable isotopes

  • H. Albert GilgEmail author
  • Yves Krüger
  • Heinrich Taubald
  • Alfons M. van den Kerkhof
  • Martin Frenz
  • Giulio Morteani


Fluid inclusion studies in combination with hydrogen, oxygen and sulphur isotope data provide novel insights into the genesis of giant amethyst-bearing geodes in Early Cretaceous Paraná continental flood basalts at Amestita do Sul, Brazil. Monophase liquid inclusions in colourless quartz, amethyst, calcite, barite and gypsum were analysed by microthermometry after stimulating bubble nucleation using single femtosecond laser pulses. The salinity of the fluid inclusions was determined from ice-melting temperatures and a combination of prograde and retrograde homogenisation temperatures via the density maximum of the aqueous solutions. Four mineralisation stages are distinguished. In stage I, celadonite, chalcedony and pyrite formed under reducing conditions in a thermally stable environment. Low δ34SV-CDT values of pyrite (−25 to −32 ‰) suggest biogenic sulphate reduction by organotrophic bacteria. During the subsequent stages II (amethyst, goethite and anhydrite), III (early subhedral calcite) and IV (barite, late subhedral calcite and gypsum), the oxidation state of the fluid changed towards more oxidising conditions and microbial sulphate reduction ceased. Three distinct modes of fluid salinities around 5.3, 3.4 and 0.3 wt% NaCl-equivalent characterise the mineralisation stages II, III and IV, respectively. The salinity of the stage I fluid is unknown due to lack of fluid inclusions. Variation in homogenisation temperatures and in δ18O values of amethyst show evidence of repeated pulses of ascending hydrothermal fluids of up to 80–90 °C infiltrating a basaltic host rock of less than 45 °C. Colourless quartz and amethyst formed at temperatures between 40 and 80 °C, while the different calcite generations and late gypsum precipitated at temperatures below 45 °C. Calculated oxygen isotope composition of the amethyst-precipitating fluid in combination with δD values of amethyst-hosted fluid inclusions (−59 to −51 ‰) show a significant 18O-shift from the meteoric water line. This 18O-shift, high salinities of the fluid inclusions with chloride-sulphate composition, and high δ34S values of anhydrite and barite (7.5 to 9.9 ‰) suggest that sedimentary brines from deeper parts of the Guaraní aquifer system must have been responsible for the amethyst mineralisation.


Amethyst Monophase fluid inclusions Retrograde homogenisation Density maximum Hydrogen isotopes Sulphur isotopes Sedimentary brines 



The authors thank Dr. N. Scherrer from HKB (Bern, Switzerland) for providing access to the Raman facility and for assisting with the measurements. We also appreciate the discussions with Dr. D. Marti (IAP, University of Bern, Switzerland) and his assistance with the interpretation of the T h -T hr measurements. B. Steinhilber and G. Stoschek for assistance during hydrogen, oxygen and sulphur isotope measurements. The constructive and careful reviews by B. Lehmann and U. Hein are greatly acknowledged. This study was partly funded by Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF grant no. 200021-119966).


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Albert Gilg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yves Krüger
    • 2
  • Heinrich Taubald
    • 3
  • Alfons M. van den Kerkhof
    • 4
  • Martin Frenz
    • 2
  • Giulio Morteani
    • 5
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für Ingenieurgeologie, TUMMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Angewandte PhysikUniversität BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Lehrstuhl für IsotopengeochemieUniversität TübingenTübingenGermany
  4. 4.Angewandt GeologieUniversität GöttingenGöttingenGermany
  5. 5.Hydroisotop GmbHSchweitenkirchenGermany

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