Vapor-Phase Garnet at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Geochemistry and Oxygen-Isotope Thermometry

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About 20 vapor-phase garnets were studied in two samples of the Topopah Spring Tuff from Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada. The Miocene-age Topopah Spring Tuff is a 350-m-thick, devitrified, moderately to densely welded ash flow that is compositionally zoned from high-silica rhyolite to quartz latite. During cooling of the tuff, escaping vapor produced lithophysae (former gas cavities) lined with an assemblage of tridymite, cristobalite, alkali feldspar, and locally, hematite and/or garnet. Vapor-phase topaz and economic deposits (such as porphyry molybdenum-tungsten) commonly associated with topaz-bearing rhyolites (characteristically enriched in fluorine) were not found in the Topopah Spring Tuff at Yucca Mountain. ... continued below

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2 pages

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Moscati, R. J.; Johnson, C.A. & Whelan, J.F. July 3, 2001.

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About 20 vapor-phase garnets were studied in two samples of the Topopah Spring Tuff from Yucca Mountain, in southern Nevada. The Miocene-age Topopah Spring Tuff is a 350-m-thick, devitrified, moderately to densely welded ash flow that is compositionally zoned from high-silica rhyolite to quartz latite. During cooling of the tuff, escaping vapor produced lithophysae (former gas cavities) lined with an assemblage of tridymite, cristobalite, alkali feldspar, and locally, hematite and/or garnet. Vapor-phase topaz and economic deposits (such as porphyry molybdenum-tungsten) commonly associated with topaz-bearing rhyolites (characteristically enriched in fluorine) were not found in the Topopah Spring Tuff at Yucca Mountain. The garnets are not primary igneous phenocrysts, but rather crystals that grew from a fluorine-poor magma-derived vapor trapped during emplacement of the tuff. The garnets are euhedral, vitreous, reddish brown, trapezohedral, as large as 2 mm in diameter, and fractured. The garnets also contain inclusions of tridymite. Electron-microprobe analyses of the garnets reveal that they are almandine-spessartine (48.0 and 47.9 mol percent, respectively), have an average chemical formula of (Fe{sub 1.46}, Mn{sub 1.45}, Mg{sub 0.03}, Ca{sub 0.10}) (Al{sub 1.93}, TiO{sub 0.02}) Si{sub 3.01}O{sub 12}, and are homogeneous in Fe and Mn concentrations from core to rim. Composited garnets from each sample site have {delta}{sup 18}O values of 7.2 and 7.4{per_thousand}. The coexisting tridymite, however, has {delta}{sup 18}O values of 17.4 and 17.6{per_thousand} values indicative of reaction with later, low-temperature water. Unaltered tridymite from higher in the stratigraphic section has a {delta}{sup 18}O of 11.1{per_thousand} which, when coupled with the garnet {delta}{sup 18}O values in a quartz-garnet fractionation equation, indicates vapor-phase crystallization at temperatures of almost 600 C. This high-temperature mineralization, formed during cooling of the tuffs, is distinct from the later and commonly recognized low-temperature stage (generally 50-70 C) of calcite, quartz, and opal secondary mineralization, formed from percolating meteoric water, that locally coats fracture footwalls and lithophysal floors.

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2 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00805429

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  • Other Information: PBD: 3 Jul 2001

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: NONE
  • DOI: 10.2172/805429 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 805429
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc739396

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  • July 3, 2001

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • Feb. 11, 2016, 12:21 p.m.

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Moscati, R. J.; Johnson, C.A. & Whelan, J.F. Vapor-Phase Garnet at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: Geochemistry and Oxygen-Isotope Thermometry, report, July 3, 2001; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc739396/: accessed June 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.