Gold-telluride nanoparticles revealed in arsenic-free pyrite

Cristiana L. Ciobanu, Nigel J. Cook, Satoshi Utsunomiya, Masashi Kogagwa, Leonard Green, Sarah Gilbert, Benjamin Wade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Citations (Scopus)


Pyrite, the most abundant sulfide on Earth and a common component of gold deposits, can be a significant host for refractory gold. This is the first documentation of pore-attached, composite Au-telluride nanoparticles in "arsenic-free" pyrite. Trace elements mapping in pyrite from an intrusion-hosted Au deposit with orogenic overprint (Dongping, China) shows trails of tellurides overlapping Co-Ni-zonation. Intragranular microfracturing, anomalous anisotropy, and high porosity are all features consistent with devolatilization attributable to the orogenic event. The pyrite-hosted nanoparticles are likely the "frozen," solid expression of Te-rich, Au-Ag-Pb-bearing vapors discharged at this stage. Nanoparticle formation, as presented here, provides the "smallest-scale" tool to fingerprint Au-trapping during crustal metamorphism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1515-1518
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Mineralogist
Issue number8-9
Publication statusPublished - 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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