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Iron-oxide and carbonate formation and transformations from banded iron formations 2.7 to 2.4 Ga

Abstract : It is the study of banded iron formations (BIFs) that provides understanding into the conditions of the Earth’s oceans and atmosphere during the Archean and Early Proterozoic. The aim of this thesis is to provide a detailed mineralogical and geochemical understand of BIFs from two separate localities separated by the Archean Proterozoic boundary. Close attention is paid to their carbonate and iron oxide mineralogy.The BIFs of the 2.7 Ga Manjeri Formation, Zimbabwe and 2.4 Ga Itabira Group, Brazil were both precipitated from oxygenated mixed marine-hydrothermal fluids. This is demonstrated by the presence of nano-hematite inclusions in the chert (Itabira and Manjeri) and dolomite (Itabira only) laminae, which is interpreted as the oldest mineral phase within the samples. Additionally, focused ion beam transmission electron microscopy (FIB-TEM) reveals the presence of nano ferrihydrite platelets within the dolomitic BIFs (carbonate itabirite). The dolomite is interpreted to be a primary phase precipitated at higher temperatures (~100°C) from CO2-rich hydrothermal fluids. Positive Eu anomalies in both formations indicate a hydrothermal component, likely to be the source of the reduced iron. Facies changes in both units are the result of transgression/regression and post depositional hydrothermal events mask primary conditions. Iron-rich carbonates in both facies have different origins; diagenetic (Itabira) and post depositional hydrothermal (Manjeri). However, the iron-rich carbonates of both formations have negative ∂13C values, indicating that at least part of the carbon in the carbonates is of organic origin. Curie Balance analyses into the carbonate itabirite reveals that maghemite is the transformation product of the ferrihydrite when dolomite decomposes at ~790°C. The maghemite has a Curie temperature between 320 and 350°C and is stable up to temperatures of 925°C.FIB-TEM investigations into the martitisation process revealed two possible mechanisms from two martite samples, from Brazil and India. Depending of the cause of the martitisation, here found to be deformation and hydrothermalism, the martitisation occurs respectively via either: 1. Ordering of point defects caused by vacancies in the spinel structure of maghemite, due to the removal of excess Fe3+ ions during the oxidation of magnetite, to form twins. It is in this twinning that the martitisation mechanism occurs.2. Grain boundary migration by hematite at the expense of magnetite is due to the presence of fluid along the crystal interfaces, where maghemite forms due to excess Fe3+ produced during martitisation of the magnetite, moving towards the surface of the magnetite crystals.
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Rachael Morgan. Iron-oxide and carbonate formation and transformations from banded iron formations 2.7 to 2.4 Ga. Earth Sciences. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI; Universidade federal de Minas Gerais, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PA112350⟩. ⟨tel-00780484⟩

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