Groundwater–rock interactions in crystalline rocks: evidence from SIMS oxygen isotope data

Yardley, Bruce W.D.; Milodowski, Antoni E.; Field, Lorraine P.; Wogelius, Roy A.; Metcalfe, Richard; Norris, Simon. 2023 Groundwater–rock interactions in crystalline rocks: evidence from SIMS oxygen isotope data. Mineralogical Magazine, 87 (4). 519-527.

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The diffusive exchange of dissolved material between fluid flowing in a fracture and the enclosing wallrocks (rock matrix diffusion) has been proposed as a mechanism by which radionuclides derived from a radioactive waste repository may be removed from groundwater and incorporated into the geosphere. To test the effectiveness of diffusive exchange in igneous and metamorphic rocks, we have carried out an investigation of veins formed at low temperatures (<100°C), comparing the oxygen isotopic composition of vein calcite with that of secondary calcite in the wallrocks. Two examples of veins from the Borrowdale Volcanic Group, Cumbria, and one from the Mountsorrel Granodiorite, Leicestershire, UK, have remarkably similar vein calcite compositions, ca. +20‰(SMOW) or greater, substantially heavier than the probable compositions of the host rocks, and these vein calcite compositions are inferred to reflect the infiltrating fluid and the temperature of vein formation. Calcites from the wallrocks are similar to those in veins, with little evidence for exchange with the wallrocks. The results support existing models for this type of vein which suggest low-temperature growth from formation brines originally linked to Permian or Triassic evaporites. The results are consistent with flow through fractures being attenuated through a damage zone adjacent to the fracture and provide no evidence of diffusional exchange with pore waters from wallrocks.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0026-461X
Date made live: 03 Aug 2023 15:52 +0 (UTC)

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