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Volatilization, transport and sublimation of metallic and non-metallic elements in high temperature gases at Merapi Volcano, Indonesia

January 1, 1987

Condensates, silica tube sublimates and incrustations were sampled from 500–800°C fumaroles and lava samples were collected at Merapi Volcano, Indonesia in Jan.–Feb., 1984. With respect to the magma, Merapi gases are enriched by factors greater than 105 in Se, Re, Bi and Cd; 104–105 in Au, Br, In, Pb and W; 103–104 in Mo, Cl, Cs, S, Sn and Ag; 102–103 in As, Zn, F and Rb; and 1–102 in Cu, K, Na, Sb, Ni, Ga, V, Fe, Mn and Li. The fumaroles are transporting more than 106 grams/day (gd">gd) of S, Cl and F; 104–106 g/d of Al, Br, Zn, Fe, K and Mg; 103–104gd">gd of Pb, As, Mo, Mn, V, W and Sr; and less than 103gd">gd of Ni, Cu, Cr, Ga, Sb, Bi, Cd, Li, Co and U.

With decreasing temperature (800-500°C) there were five sublimate zones found in silica tubes: 1) cristobalite and magnetite (first deposition of Si, Fe and Al); 2) K-Ca sulfate, acmite, halite, sylvite and pyrite (maximum deposition of Cl, Na, K, Si, S, Fe, Mo, Br, Al, Rb, Cs, Mn, W, P, Ca, Re, Ag, Au and Co); 3) aphthitalite (K-Na sulfate), sphalerite, galena and Cs-K. sulfate (maximum deposition of Zn, Bi, Cd, Se and In; higher deposition of Pb and Sn); 4) Pb-K chloride and Na-K-Fe sulfate (maximum deposition of Pb, Sn and Cu); and 5) Zn, Cu and K-Pb sulfates (maximum deposition of Pb, Sn, Ti, As and Sb).

The incrustations surrounding the fumaroles are also chemically zoned. Bi, Cd, Pb, W, Mo, Zn, Cu, K, Na, V, Fe and Mn are concentrated most in or very close to the vent as expected with cooling, atmospheric contamination and dispersion. The highly volatile elements Br, Cl, As and Sb are transported primarily away from high temperature vents. Ba, Si, P, Al, Ca and Cr are derived from wall rock reactions.

Incomplete degassing of shallow magma at 915°C is the origin of most of the elements in the Merapi volcanic gas, although it is partly contaminated by particles or wall rock reactions. The metals are transported predominantly as chloride species. As the gas cools in the fumarolic environment, it becomes saturated with sublimate phases that fractionate from the gas in the order of their equilibrium saturation temperatures. Devolatilization of a cooling batholith could transport enough acids and metals to a hydrothermal system to play a significant role in forming an ore deposit. However, sublimation from a high temperature, high velocity carrier gas is not efficient enough to form a large ore deposit. Re, Se, Cd and Bi could be used as supporting evidence for magmatic fluid transport in an ore deposit.

Publication Year 1987
Title Volatilization, transport and sublimation of metallic and non-metallic elements in high temperature gases at Merapi Volcano, Indonesia
DOI 10.1016/0016-7037(87)90258-4
Authors R.B. Symonds, William I. Rose, M.H. Reed, F. E. Lichte, David L. Finnegan
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Index ID 70014181
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse