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Liquid immiscibility between arsenide and sulfide melts: evidence from a LA-ICP-MS study in magmatic deposits at Serranía de Ronda (Spain)

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Abstract

The chromite-Ni arsenide (Cr-Ni-As) and sulfide-graphite (S-G) deposits from the Serranía de Ronda (Málaga, South Spain) contain an arsenide assemblage (nickeline, maucherite and nickeliferous löllingite) that has been interpreted to represent an arsenide melt and a sulfide-graphite assemblage (pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite and graphite) that has been interpreted to represent a sulfide melt, both of which have been interpreted to have segregated as immiscible liquids from an arsenic-rich sulfide melt. We have determined the platinum-group element (PGE), Au, Ag, Se, Sb, Bi and Te contents of the arsenide and sulfide assemblages using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to establish their partitioning behaviour during the immiscibility of an arsenide melt from a sulfide melt. Previous experimental work has shown that PGE partition more strongly into arsenide melts than into sulfide melts and our results fit with this observation. Arsenide minerals are enriched in all PGE, but especially in elements with the strongest affinity for the arsenide melt, including Ir, Rh and Pt. In contrast and also in agreement with previous studies, Se and Ag partition preferentially into the sulfide assemblage. The PGE-depleted nature of sulfides in the S-G deposits along with the discordant morphologies of the bodies suggest that these sulfides are not mantle sulfides, but that they represent the crystallization product of a PGE-depleted sulfide melt due to the sequestering of PGE by an arsenide melt.

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Acknowledgments

We are very grateful to Dany Savard (Université du Québec à Chicoutimi, Canada) for his assistance with the laser ablation analysis. We very much appreciate the comments from two anonymous reviewers and Associate Editor Michael Lesher, who significantly improved the manuscript. Editor Bernd Lehmann is acknowledged for his editorial input. This research was financed by the Spanish research project CGL2007-60266 and the Canada Research Chair in Magmatic Metallogeny. Rubén Piña’s stay at UQAC was financed with a “José Castillejo” travel aid financed by Spanish Ministry of Science.

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Piña, R., Gervilla, F., Barnes, SJ. et al. Liquid immiscibility between arsenide and sulfide melts: evidence from a LA-ICP-MS study in magmatic deposits at Serranía de Ronda (Spain). Miner Deposita 50, 265–279 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-014-0534-3

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