The genesis of Colombian emeralds: a restatement

Abstract

A renewal of metallogenetical studies of Colombian emerald deposits produced new geological and geochemical data that favour a hydrothermal-sedimentary genetic model for these deposits. A comprehensive model is presented which integrates both chemical and structural aspects and invalidates some aspects of the model recently presented by Ottaway et al. The deposits result from a two-stage process in which shortening tectonics affect the two borders of the Eastern Cordillera of Colombia and provoke decollement planes, thrusting, and thrust-fault related folds in the Early Cretaceous black shale series. Three major descriptive and interpretative aspects of the deposits are presented: (1) time relationships between the two different sets of barren and mineralized extensional veins; (2) the association of graphite and emerald mineralization, and (3) the thermochemical sulfate reduction reaction acting at the site of the emerald deposits to reduce sulfate of evaporitic origin from the hydrothermal brines into hydrogen sulfide by interaction with organic-rich strata.

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Cheilletz, A., Giuliani, G. The genesis of Colombian emeralds: a restatement. Mineral. Deposita 31, 359–364 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00189183

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Keywords

  • Shale
  • Cretaceous
  • Sulfate Reduction
  • Hydrogen Sulfide
  • Early Cretaceous