Encyclopedia of Geobiology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Joachim Reitner, Volker Thiel

Ores, Microbial Precipitation and Oxidation

  • Beda A. Hofmann
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9212-1_158

Synonyms

Gossan; Ore deposits; Oxidation zone; Supergene enrichment

Definition

Ore deposits are natural enrichments of chemical elements of economic interest. While all natural elements are present in certain background concentrations in rocks and minerals, they are typically not economically extractable at these levels. Geological processes may lead to enrichments of elements in such a way that orebodies are formed from which large quantities of elements may be extracted at a much lower cost. The formation of orebodies generally occurs in three steps: (1) element extraction from a large volume of rock or melt; (2) transport of elements; (3) deposition of elements in a volume of rock much smaller than the extracted volume. These steps may occur in magmatic melts, hydrothermal systems, diagenetic environments, and at the Earth’s surface. Melts, solutions, gases, and solid phases (minerals) may be involved in these processes. In many cases, ore forming processes occur in magmatic and...

Keywords

Sulfide Manganese Arsenic Uranium Sandstone 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beda A. Hofmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Earth Science DepartmentNatural History Museum BernBernSwitzerland