Geochemical prospecting for rare earth elements using termite mound materials View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2014-12

AUTHORS

Yu Horiuchi, Tetsuji Ohno, Mihoko Hoshino, Ki-Cheol Shin, Hiroyasu Murakami, Maiko Tsunematsu, Yasushi Watanabe

ABSTRACT

The Blockspruit fluorite prospect, located in North West State of the Republic of South Africa, occurs within an actinolite rock zone that was emplaced into the Kenkelbos-type granite of Proterozoic age. There are a large number of termite mounds in the prospect. For geochemical prospecting for rare earth elements (REEs), in total, 200 samples of termite mound material were collected from actinolite rock and granite zones in the prospect. Geochemical analyses of these termite mound materials were conducted by two methods: portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Comparison of the two methods broadly indicates positive correlations of REEs (La, Ce, Pr, Nd, and Y), in particular Y and La having a strong correlation. As the result of modal abundance analyses, the actinolite rock at surface mainly consists of ferro-actinolite (89.89 wt%) and includes xenotime (0.26 wt%) and monazite (0.21 wt%) grains as REE minerals. Termite mound materials from actinolite rock also contain xenotime (0.27 wt%) and monazite (0.41 wt%) grains. In addition, termite mound materials from the actinolite rock zone have high hematite and Fe silicate contents compared to those from granite zone. These relationships suggest that REE minerals in termite mound materials originate form actinolite rock. Geochemical anomaly maps of Y, La, and Fe concentrations drawn based on the result of the portable XRF analyses show that high concentrations of these elements trend from SW to NE which broadly correspond to occurrences of actinolite body. These results indicate that termite mounds are an effective tool for REE geochemical prospection in the study area for both light REEs and Y, but a more detailed survey is required to establish the distribution of the actinolite rock body. More... »

PAGES

1013-1023

References to SciGraph publications

  • 1982-01. Termites of a South African savanna in OECOLOGIA
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    http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1007/s00126-014-0550-3

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    http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00126-014-0550-3

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