Bismuth selenides from St. Andreasberg, Germany: an oxidised five-element style of mineralisation and its relation to post-Variscan vein-type deposits of central Europe

Abstract

Carbonate veinlets at Roter Bär, a former underground mine in the polymetallic St. Andreasberg vein district of the Harz Mountains, Germany, host selenide minerals that are characterised as Bi–Ag-bearing clausthalite (PbSe), tiemannite (HgSe), guanajuatite (Bi2Se3) and a number of selenides of Bi, Zn, Cu, Ag and Pd. An unnamed Bi–Pb–Ag selenide species with some Hg and Cu, ideally Bi4Pb3Ag2Se10, is reported here. Specular hematite is disseminated within the clausthalite, at the marginal zones of which other selenide minerals are located. The occurrence of bohdanowiczite (AgBiSe2) and umangite (Cu3Se2) constrains the formation temperature to ≤120 °C, and the selenide–hematite assemblage (plus barite in the carbonate gangue) identifies highly oxidised conditions. Selenide assemblages of Pb, Bi, Ag, with and without Co and Ni, occur in many parts of the Variscan basement of central Europe (Harz, Erzgebirge, Schwarzwald and Bohemian Massif) and represent a high-oxidation variety of five-element (Ag–As–Bi–Co–Ni) veins.

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Acknowledgements

This work was elaborated during the stay of A.R. Cabral in Germany, which was initially financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, project CA 737/1-1), and later sponsored by VALE S.A. Our study was supported by the German BMBF cooperative project ‘r4—Wirtschaftsstrategische Rohstoffe: ResErVar/Harz’. One anonymous reviewer and, in particular, Gregor Markl contributed to improve the manuscript; they are gratefully acknowledged.

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Cabral, A.R., Ließmann, W., Jian, W. et al. Bismuth selenides from St. Andreasberg, Germany: an oxidised five-element style of mineralisation and its relation to post-Variscan vein-type deposits of central Europe. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) 106, 2359–2369 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-016-1431-z

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Keywords

  • Polymetallic veins
  • Bismuth
  • Selenides
  • St. Andreasberg
  • Harz Mountains