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INTRODUCTION The massive sulfide deposits of southern Spain

The massive sulfide deposits of southern Spain
and Portugal were formed about 300 Ma by pre-
cipitation from hydrothermal fluids during a pe-
riod of intense submarine volcanism (Boulter,
1993). Subsequent uplift and compression re-
sulted in the distribution of >1000 Mt (million
metric tons) of massive sulfide ore bodies over a
region 250 km long and 30 km wide, known to-
day as the Iberian pyrite belt (Munha et al., 1986;
Fig. 1). The deposits typically contain 50% sul-
fur, 42% iron, 2%8% copper + lead + zinc by
weight and significant quantities of gold and sil-
ver (Strauss et al., 1977). Early indications of
mining in the region date to the third millennium
B.C. Silver deposits later became an important
source of wealth for the Phoenicians (Morral,
1990).About 5 Mt of pyrite had been mined from
the Rio Tinto by the time Carthage fell at the end
of the Third Punic War in 146 B.C. (Pinedo,


Source: Adkins, Jess F. - Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology
van Geen, Alexander - Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology; Geosciences