skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Hydrocarbons as ore fluids

Abstract

Conventional wisdom holds that aqueous solutions are the only non-magmatic fluids capable of concentrating metals in the Earth’s crust. The role of hydrocarbons in metal concentration is relegated to providing geochemical barriers at which the metals are reduced and immobilised. Liquid hydrocarbons, however, are also known to be able to carry appreciable concentrations of metals, and travel considerable distances. Here we report the results of an experimental determination of bulk solubilities of Au, Zn, and U in a variety of crude oils at temperatures up to 300 °C and of the benchtop-scale transport experiments that simulate hydrocarbon-mediated re-deposition of Zn at 25–200 °C. It has been demonstrated that the metal concentrations obtained in solubility experiments are within the range of concentrations that are typically considered sufficient for aqueous fluids to form ore bodies. It has also been shown that Zn can be efficiently transported and re-deposited by hydrocarbons. In conclusion, these results provide direct evidence of the ability of natural crude oils to mobilise metals available in hydrocarbon-associated host rocks, and transport them in concentrations sufficient to contribute to ore-forming processes.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [3];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  2. McGill Univ., Montreal, QC (Canada). Dept of Earth and Planetary Sciences
  3. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). X-ray Science Division
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States); Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC); USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1485385
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1471583
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-14-28756
Journal ID: ISSN 2410-339X
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geochemical Perspectives Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 2410-339X
Publisher:
European Association of Geochemistry
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; Planetary Sciences; hydrocarbons, fluids, critical and precious metals; hydrocarbons; fluid; hydrothermal; transport; deposition; mechanism

Citation Formats

Migdisov, Artaches A., Guo, X., Xu, H., Williams-Jones, Anthony E., Sun, C. J., Vasyukova, Olga, Sugiyama, Ichiko, Fuchs, Sebastian, Pearce, Kelly, and Roback, R. Hydrocarbons as ore fluids. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.7185/geochemlet.1745.
Migdisov, Artaches A., Guo, X., Xu, H., Williams-Jones, Anthony E., Sun, C. J., Vasyukova, Olga, Sugiyama, Ichiko, Fuchs, Sebastian, Pearce, Kelly, & Roback, R. Hydrocarbons as ore fluids. United States. doi:10.7185/geochemlet.1745.
Migdisov, Artaches A., Guo, X., Xu, H., Williams-Jones, Anthony E., Sun, C. J., Vasyukova, Olga, Sugiyama, Ichiko, Fuchs, Sebastian, Pearce, Kelly, and Roback, R. Fri . "Hydrocarbons as ore fluids". United States. doi:10.7185/geochemlet.1745. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1485385.
@article{osti_1485385,
title = {Hydrocarbons as ore fluids},
author = {Migdisov, Artaches A. and Guo, X. and Xu, H. and Williams-Jones, Anthony E. and Sun, C. J. and Vasyukova, Olga and Sugiyama, Ichiko and Fuchs, Sebastian and Pearce, Kelly and Roback, R.},
abstractNote = {Conventional wisdom holds that aqueous solutions are the only non-magmatic fluids capable of concentrating metals in the Earth’s crust. The role of hydrocarbons in metal concentration is relegated to providing geochemical barriers at which the metals are reduced and immobilised. Liquid hydrocarbons, however, are also known to be able to carry appreciable concentrations of metals, and travel considerable distances. Here we report the results of an experimental determination of bulk solubilities of Au, Zn, and U in a variety of crude oils at temperatures up to 300 °C and of the benchtop-scale transport experiments that simulate hydrocarbon-mediated re-deposition of Zn at 25–200 °C. It has been demonstrated that the metal concentrations obtained in solubility experiments are within the range of concentrations that are typically considered sufficient for aqueous fluids to form ore bodies. It has also been shown that Zn can be efficiently transported and re-deposited by hydrocarbons. In conclusion, these results provide direct evidence of the ability of natural crude oils to mobilise metals available in hydrocarbon-associated host rocks, and transport them in concentrations sufficient to contribute to ore-forming processes.},
doi = {10.7185/geochemlet.1745},
journal = {Geochemical Perspectives Letters},
number = ,
volume = 5,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {12}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 9 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referencing / citing this record:

Petroleum as source and carrier of metals in epigenetic sediment-hosted mineralization
journal, June 2019

  • Saintilan, Nicolas J.; Spangenberg, Jorge E.; Chiaradia, Massimo
  • Scientific Reports, Vol. 9, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44770-7

Sample seal-and-drop device and methodology for high temperature oxide melt solution calorimetric measurements of PuO 2
journal, April 2019

  • Guo, Xiaofeng; Boukhalfa, Hakim; Mitchell, Jeremy N.
  • Review of Scientific Instruments, Vol. 90, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.5093567