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Contribution of the Paragenetic Sequence of Clay Minerals to Re-Examination of the Alteration Zoning in the Krafla Geothermal System

Abstract : This paper revisits the clay mineralogy of the “smectite” alteration zone in the Krafla geo-thermal field via the study of an exploratory well in which temperatures range from 40 °C to 215 °C. The clay alteration consists of several mineral assemblages superimposed in time and space, resulting from different stages of water-rock interaction. Trioctahedral clay minerals (chlorite, corrensite and smectite) are observed throughout the studied section. These minerals can form in nearly closed systems as replacements of groundmass minerals/glass after interactions with resident and nearly stagnant fluids not far from chemical equilibrium (neutral to basic pH conditions) or from direct precipitation from geothermal fluids. They are locally superimposed by Al clay phases (smectite, illite/smectite and kaolinite), which result from intense leaching of the host rocks due to their interaction with low pH fluids under strong W/R ratios. The absence of mineralogical zoning is explained by the fact that hydrothermal alteration is strongly dependent on very recent hydrodynamics. The current fluid circulation generates trioctahedral clays at depth that cannot be distinguished from pervasive earlier alteration. The only easily detectable signature of current activity and the most relevant signature for geothermal exploration is the presence of Al dioctahedral phases since it indicates leaching and intense hydrothermal activity.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 12:33:05 PM
Last modification on : Friday, October 29, 2021 - 3:48:59 AM

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David Escobedo, Patricia Patrier, Daniel Beaufort, Benoit Gibert, Léa Levy, et al.. Contribution of the Paragenetic Sequence of Clay Minerals to Re-Examination of the Alteration Zoning in the Krafla Geothermal System. Minerals, MDPI, 2021, 11 (9), pp.935. ⟨10.3390/min11090935⟩. ⟨hal-03402731⟩

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