Remarks on the origin of cerussite in the Upper Silesian Zn-Pb deposits, Poland

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Remarks on the origin of cerussite in the Upper Silesian Zn-Pb deposits, Poland

Cerussite, the most important oxidized lead mineral in the Upper Silesian Zn-Pb deposits, occurs in two readily distinct types: fine-grained cerussite replacing galena in-situ and macrocrystalline cerussite filling open fractures and cavities. Microscopic observations and thermodynamic considerations lead to the conclusion that galena can be oxidized to lead carbonate directly, not necessarily through an intermediate sulphate phase. Locally present iron sulphides undergoing oxidation acidify solutions and provide ferric ions which are important oxidizing agents. In such microenvironments, anglesite can preferentially form.

Cerussite and galena commonly coexist together with non-oxidized zinc sulphides. It is difficult to explain such assemblages if galvanic couplings made of these two sulphides are not considered. These couplings are only formed when these two sulphides are in direct contact. In such an assemblage, galena undergoes oxidation, mostly to cerussite, and sphalerite is passivated. When there is no direct contact between sulphides, the galvanic couplings do not exist. Galena surfaces become covered by oxidation products which inhibit further oxidation. As such a cover does not form on sphalerite, it can be easily oxidized.

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