Abundance and fractionation of rare earth elements in calcite and other secondary minerals in fractures in the upper kilometre of crystalline bedrock, SE Sweden

University dissertation from Växjö : Linnaeus University Press

Abstract: This thesis focuses on the geochemistry of secondary minerals, mainly calcite but also others such as fluorite and Ca/Al silicates, precipitated throughout the last 1.5 billion years in fractures of crystalline rock, SE Sweden. The work was based on previous reconnaissance studies and has been possible thanks to access to high-quality drill cores and associated mapping data provided by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Co (SKB). Concentrations of rare earth elements (REEs) and occasionally other metals were determined in a variety of secondary minerals from fractures (mainly open systems) and veins (mainly sealed systems) and in primary minerals from the bedrock. Stable-isotope composition was measured in the secondary minerals. The overall aim was to define the sources, uptake and fractionation of REEs in calcite, and a few other co-genetic minerals, precipitated throughout the geological history under conditions ranging from hydrothermal to low temperatures.Collectively, the findings of the individual studies show that there is no easy and straightforward control of REE abundance and fractionation in calcite and other minerals in fractures and veins in crystalline bedrock settings. For example, the REE features in calcite vary extensively within sub-generations of single vein-precipitating events, on micro scale in transects across individual veins, and unsystematically over the geological history characterised by successively decreasing temperatures of mineral formation. Although the REE content in, and release from, the crystalline bedrock can have an influence on REE distribution in calcite and other minerals, it is of overall minor importance within a given bedrock domain. The main advantage of determining REEs in secondary minerals in fractures and veins in crystalline rock is therefore, as revealed in this work, to assess the character and evolution of the conditions (including features of the paleofluids) during confined mineral-precipitating events.