Mineralogy and Genesis of the Polymetallic and Polyphased Low Grade Fe-Mn-Cu Ore of Jbel Rhals Deposit (Eastern High Atlas, Morocco)

Michèle Verhaert, Alain Bernard, Omar Saddiqi, Augustin Dekoninck, Mourad Essalhi, Johan Yans

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Abstract

The Jbel Rhals deposit, located in the Oriental High Atlas of Morocco, hosts a polymetallic Fe-Mn-Cu ore. Large metric veins of goethite and pyrolusite cut through Paleozoic schists that are overlaid by Permian-Triassic basalts and Triassic conglomerates. The genesis of this deposit is clearly polyphased, resulting from supergene processes superimposed over hydrothermal phases. The flow of Permian-Triassic basalts probably generated the circulation of hydrothermal fluids through the sedimentary series, the alteration of basalts and schists, and the formation of hydrothermal primary ore composed of carbonates (siderite) and Cu-Fe sulfides. Several episodes of uplift triggered the exhumation of ores and host rocks, generating their weathering and the precipitation of a supergene ore assemblage (goethite, pyrolusite, malachite and calcite). In the Paleozoic basement, Fe-Mn oxihydroxides are mostly observed as rhombohedral crystals that correspond to the pseudomorphose of a primary mineral thought to be siderite; goethite precipitated first, rapidly followed by pyrolusite and other Mn oxides. Malachite formed later, with calcite, in fine millimetric veins cutting through host-rock schists, conglomerates and Fe-Mn ores.
Original languageEnglish
Article number39
Number of pages23
JournalMinerals
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Moroccan High Atlas
  • supergene deposits
  • goethite
  • gossan
  • weathering

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