Magmatic and hydrothermal quartz populations related to the Late-Variscan Zinnwald/Cínovec Sn-W-Li greisen-type deposit in the Eastern Erzgebirge/Krušné Hory (German/Czech Republic) were studied in terms of trace element contents and growth structures visualized by cathodoluminescence. The sample suite represents different populations of hydrothermal greisen quartz and magmatic quartz of the granitic host collected at a 600-m long, lateral section crosscutting the northern part of the deposit at the 750-m level.
The studied quartz populations are characterized by generally low concentrations and low variation of Al and Ti indicating relatively constant crystallization conditions (temperature, pressure and fluid chemistry) during ore precipitation. Magmatic and hydrothermal quartz are distinguished by their Al, Ti, Li and Ge concentrations and ratios. Magmatic quartz has commonly higher Al (>100 ppm) and Ti (>3 ppm) compared to hydrothermal quartz. The Ge/Al ratio in quartz increases systematically from high to low formation temperatures (664 to ~400 °C = temperature range including published data and our estimates) whereas Ti decreases. The Zinnwald albite granite (mineralization host), an albite-rich alkali granite, and massive quartz-zinnwaldite greisen contain both magmatic and hydrothermal quartz populations which are distinguishable by their Ge/Al weight ratio: magmatic quartz has a Ge/Al ratio of <0.008 whereas hydrothermal quartz a ratio of >0.008.
Hydrothermal vein quartz related to the Sn-W mineralization (Flöze = flat veins and Morgengänge = steep veins) does not show systematic trace element variations along the sampling profile indicating that no significant chemical gradients (in lateral direction) in the ore forming fluid existed. The uptake of Li in the quartz lattice is limited by the incorporated Al although the Zinnwald/Cínovec magmatic-hydrothermal system was strongly enriched in Li. The calculated crystallization temperatures of quartz of the Sn-W mineralization applying the TitaniQ thermobarometer reveal crystallization temperatures ranging from 575 ± 48 °C (albite granite), 612 ± 12 °C (stockscheider), 610 ± 23 (massive greisen), 536 ± 77 °C (flat veins), to 516 ± 58 °C (steep veins) confirming in general early estimations based on fluid and melt inclusion studies. In economic terms, the hydrothermal quartz (flat and steep veins) with an average total trace element content of 128 ± 56 ppm has intermediate chemical quality and can serve as a by-product if colour sorting and other processing steps are applied. Rock-forming quartz of albite granite and massive greisen with an average total trace element content of 233 ± 127 ppm has medium quality and the disadvantage that quartz contains a high amount of contaminating mineral inclusion, which will be challenging to remove by processing.
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