Formation of As(II)-pyrite during experimental replacement of magnetite under hydrothermal conditions

Gujie Qian, Joel Brugger, Denis Testemale, William Skinner, Allan Pring

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    A 'new' type of arsenian pyrite was formed during experimental replacement of magnetite under hydrothermal conditions (T=125 and 220°C; Psat) and in the presence of S(-II) and various As-containing species. The amount of As in pyrite depended on the As-source, with sources containing cationic As (As(II), As(III) and As(V)) resulting in considerably higher amounts of As in the product arsenian pyrite than anionic sources. The highest As content was 23.83±0.20wt%, corresponding to a S:Fe:As molar ratio of 2:0.58:0.42. Electron probe micro-analyses revealed an inverse correlation between the Fe and As contents in the arsenian pyrite, indicating that As is substituting for Fe. Arsenic concentrations were highly inhomogeneous within the pyrite rim; in general, higher As contents were found within solid pyrite growing on the outer rim, compared to the highly porous and texturally complex pyrite found close to the reaction boundary. This likely reflects different uptake mechanisms for As during the pyrite nucleation and growth stages. X-ray Absorption Near Edge Structure (XANES) analyses showed that the As in the arsenian pyrite was predominantly in the form of As(II). Cross-sectional X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of the arsenian pyrite confirmed the presence of As(II), but also showed evidence for more oxidized species (As(III) and As(V) oxides), as well as small amounts of polymeric As-As bonding. This indicates a large difference between As in the bulk (XANES measurements) and at the pyrite surface (XPS). Ab initio XANES calculations are consistent with As replacing Fe in pyrite in the form of As(II). Our experimental study suggests that the formal oxidation state of As in this type of arsenian pyrite is close to +2, and that in addition to fluid composition and oxidation state, the reaction path leading to pyrite formation plays a significant role in controlling the chemistry of arsenian pyrite.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalGeochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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