Quartz samples of different origin from 10 localities in the Southern Ural region, Russia have been investigated to characterize their trace element compositions and defect structures. The analytical combination of cathodoluminescence (CL) microscopy and spectroscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, and trace-element analysis by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) revealed that almost all investigated quartz samples showed very low concentrations of trace elements (cumulative concentrations of <50 ppm with <30 ppm Al and <10 ppm Ti) and low abundances of paramagnetic defects, defining them economically as “high-purity” quartz (HPQ) suitable for high-tech applications. EPR and CL data confirmed the low abundances of substitutional Ti and Fe, and showed Al to be the only significant trace element structurally bound in the investigated quartz samples. CL microscopy revealed a heterogeneous distribution of luminescence centres (i.e., luminescence active trace elements such as Al) as well as features of deformation and recrystallization. It is suggested that healing of defects due to deformation-related recrystallization and reorganization processes of the quartz lattice during retrograde metamorphism resulted in low concentrations of CL activator and other trace elements or vacancies, and thus are the main driving processes for the formation of HPQ deposits in the investigated area.
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