Gold Solubility in Supercritical Hydrothermal Brines Measured in Synthetic Fluid Inclusions

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Science  25 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5423, pp. 2159-2163
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5423.2159

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Dissolved gold contents in chloride brines that were experimentally saturated with gold, magnetite, iron sulfides, orthoclase, and muscovite at 550° to 725°C and 100 to 400 megapascals are reported here. Microsamples of the fluid were isolated at the experimental temperature and pressure as fluid inclusions in quartz. Individual fluid inclusions were opened by laser ablation and analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The results show that gold solubility as sulfide species in supercritical brines is far higher than previously supposed. Dissolved gases such as molecular hydrogen sulfide that are ineffective metal-complexing agents at low pressures evidently become highly effective at high pressures.

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