Textural and microstructural studies of zinc sulfide and associated phases in certain base metal deposits

  • Andrew P. More

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A textural and microstructural study of a variety of zinc sulfide-containing ores has been undertaken, and the possible depositional and deformational controls of textural and microstructural development considered. Samples for the study were taken from both deformed and undeformed zinc ores of the Central U.S. Appalachians, and deformed zinc ores of the English Pennines. A variety of mineralogical techniques were employed, including transmitted and reflected light microscopy of etched and unetched material, transmission electron microscopy and electron microprobe analysis. For the Pennine zinc sulfides, spectroscopic, x-ray diffraction and fluid inclusion studies were also undertaken. Optical and electron optical examination of the Appalachian material confirmed the suitability of zinc sulfide for detailed study with such techniques. Growth and deformation-related microstructures could be distinguished from specimen-preparation induced artifacts. A deformationally-mduced lamelliform optical anisotropy is seen to be developed in areas hosting a dense planar microstructure of {111} twin- and slip-planes. The Pennine zinc sulfide texturally records a changing depositional environment. Thus, for example, delicately growth- zoned crystals are truncated and cross-cut by solution disconformities. Fluid inclusion studies indicate a highly saline (20-25 wt. % equiv. NaCl), low temperature (100-150°C.) fluid. Texturally, two varieties of zinc sulfide can be recognised; a widely developed, iron- banded variety, and a paragenetically early variety, banded due to horizons rich in crystal defects and microscopic inclusions. The zinc sulfide takes the form of a disordered 3C-polytype, with much of the disorder being deformational in origin. Twin- and slip-plane fabrics are developed . A deformation-related optical anisotropy is seen to overprint growth-related anisotropy, along with cuprian alteration of certain {111} deformation planes.
Date of Award1988
Original languageEnglish


  • textural
  • microstructural studies
  • zinc sulfide
  • base metal deposits

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