Developing fluorite as a geochemical pathfinder mineral using globally reported REE-Y contents

Date created: 
Discrimination diagrams
Rare earth elements
Indicator mineral
Trace elements
Pathfinder mineral

Discrimination diagrams have been created to begin development of fluorite as a geochemical pathfinder mineral based on a compilation of approximately 630 trace-element analyses (ICP-MS, ICP-AES, LA-ICP-MS, NAA, INAA) of fluorite from 183 deposits/localities from nearly 60 regions world-wide. A classification scheme of primary mineralization environments was determined to describe potentially economic deposits in which fluorite commonly occurs as listed here in order of representation quality: 1.) hydrothermal/epithermal vein/replacement in igneous hosts, 2.) MVT, 3.) vein/replacement in carbonate hosts, 4.) carbonatite-related, 5.) vein/replacement in metamorphic hosts 6.) SEDEX, 7.) skarn, 8.) greisen, 9.) intrusion-related Mo, 10.) cryolite, 11.) peralkaline silicate igneous rock, 12.) vein/replacement in sedimentary hosts, 13.) rare-metal pegmatite, 14.) granite-related U, and 15.) IOCG deposits. Discrimination diagrams were created using 67th percentile contours of scatter datafields per primary mineralization environment generated using ratios of REE-Y data and equations created by discriminant projection analyses. These diagrams were tested using FUS-ICP/MS analyses of fluorite handsamples sourced from eight North American deposits with predetermined primary mineralization environments assigned from literature review. Correct assignations were confidently returned for half of eight sampled deposits using 11 analyses of samples and less confidently returned for another quarter. Though the exact mechanisms controlling trace-element partitioning in fluorite are poorly understood, this study provides an improved method to discriminate between fluorite-bearing deposits.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Daniel Marshall
Derek Thorkelson
Science: Department of Earth Sciences
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.Sc.