Evaluation of ultramafic deposits in the Eastern United States and Puerto Rico as sources of magnesium for carbon dioxide sequestration

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In this report, the authors evaluate the resource potential of extractable magnesium from ultramafic bodies located in Vermont, the Pennsylvania-Maryland-District-of-Columbia (PA-MD-DC) region, western North Carolina, and southwestern Puerto Rico. The first three regions occur in the Appalachian Mountains and contain the most attractive deposits in the eastern United States. They were formed during prograde metamorphism of serpentinized peridotite fragments originating from an ophiolite protolith. The ultramafic rocks consist of variably serpentinized dunite, harzburgite, and minor iherzolite generally containing antigorite and/or lizardite as the major serpentine minor phases. Chrysotile contents vary from minor to major, depending on occurrence. Most bodies contain ... continued below

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46 p.

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Goff, Fraser; Guthrie, George; Lipin, Bruce; Fite, Melissa; Chipera, Steve; Counce, Dale et al. April 1, 2000.

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In this report, the authors evaluate the resource potential of extractable magnesium from ultramafic bodies located in Vermont, the Pennsylvania-Maryland-District-of-Columbia (PA-MD-DC) region, western North Carolina, and southwestern Puerto Rico. The first three regions occur in the Appalachian Mountains and contain the most attractive deposits in the eastern United States. They were formed during prograde metamorphism of serpentinized peridotite fragments originating from an ophiolite protolith. The ultramafic rocks consist of variably serpentinized dunite, harzburgite, and minor iherzolite generally containing antigorite and/or lizardite as the major serpentine minor phases. Chrysotile contents vary from minor to major, depending on occurrence. Most bodies contain an outer sheath of chlorite-talc-tremolite rock. Larger deposits in Vermont and most deposits in North Carolina contain a core of dunite. Magnesite and other carbonates are common accessories. In these deposits, MgO ranges from 36 to 48 wt % with relatively pure dunite having the highest MgO and lowest H{sub 2}O contents. Ultramafic deposits in southwestern Puerto Rico consist of serpentinized dunite and harzburgite thought to be emplaced as large diapirs or as fragments in tectonic melanges. They consist of nearly pure, low-grade serpentinite in which lizardite and chrysotile are the primary serpentine minerals. Chlorite is ubiquitous in trace amounts. Magnesite is a common accessory. Contents of MgO and H{sub 2}O are rather uniform at roughly 36 and 13 wt %. Dissolution experiments show that all serpentinites and dunite-rich rocks are soluble in 1:1 mixtures of 35% HCl and water by volume. The experiments suggest that low-grade serpentinites from Puerto Rico are slightly more reactive than the higher grade, antigorite-bearing serpentinites of the Appalachian Mountains. The experiments also show that the low-grade serpentinites and relatively pure dunites contain the least amounts of undesirable insoluble silicates. Individual ultramafic bodies in the Appalachian Mountains are as great as 7 km{sup 3} although typically they are {le}1 km{sup 3}. In contrast, ultramafic deposits in southwestern Puerto Rico have an estimated volume of roughly 150 km{sup 3}. Based on the few detailed geophysical studies in North Carolina and Puerto Rico, it is evident that volume estimates of any ultramafic deposit would benefit greatly from gravity and magnetic investigations, and from corehole drilling. Nevertheless, the data show that the ultramafic deposits of the eastern United States and southwestern Puerto Rico could potentially sequester many years of annual CO{sub 2} emissions if favorable geotechnical, engineering, and environmental conditions prevail.

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46 p.

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OSTI as DE00754045

Medium: P; Size: 46 pages

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Apr 2000

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  • Report No.: LA-13694-MS
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • DOI: 10.2172/754045 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 754045
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc708286

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  • April 1, 2000

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • April 12, 2017, 6:50 p.m.

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Goff, Fraser; Guthrie, George; Lipin, Bruce; Fite, Melissa; Chipera, Steve; Counce, Dale et al. Evaluation of ultramafic deposits in the Eastern United States and Puerto Rico as sources of magnesium for carbon dioxide sequestration, report, April 1, 2000; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc708286/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.