Alteration of platinum-group and base-metal mineral assemblages in ophiolite chromitites from the dobromirtsi massif, Rhodope Mountains (Bulgaria)

José María González-Jiménez*, Fernando Gervilla, Thomas Kerestedjian, Joaquín Antonio Proenza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The Dobromirtsi Ultramafic Massif, located in the Rhodope Mountains (SE Bulgaria), is a portion of a Paleozoic sub-oceanic mantle affected by polyphase regional metamorphism. This massif contains several small, podiform chromitite bodies which underwent the same metamorphic evolution as their host peridotites. Like other ophiolite chromitites, those found in Dobromirtsi carry abundant platinum-group minerals (PGM) and base-metal minerals (BMM). The PGM consist mainly of Ru-, Os-, and Ir-based PGM (laurite RuS2-erlichmanite OsS2, Os-Ru-Ir alloys, irarsite [IrAsS], Ru-rich pentlandite, and an unknown Ir-sulfide) but minor Rh- and Pd-based PGM (hollingworthite [RhAsS] and a series of unidentified stannides and sulfantimonides) are also present. In contrast, the BMM are dominated by pentlandite (Ni,Fe)9S8, followed by heazlewoodite (Ni3S2), breithauptite (NiSb), maucherite (Ni11As8), godlevskite (Ni7S6), gersdorffite (NiAsS), millerite (NiS), undetermined minerals containing Ni, As and Sb, orcelite (Ni5-XAs2), awaruite (Ni3Fe) and chalcopyrite (CuFeS2). The detailed study of the textural relationships, morphology and composition of the PGM and BMM inclusions indicate the existence of two different PGM-BMM assemblages: (i) a primary or magmatic; and (ii) a secondary related with postmagmatic alteration. The PGM and BMM inclusions in unaltered zones of chromite crystals (mainly laurite-erlichmanite and pentlandite) are considered to be primary magmatic minerals formed under variable temperature (1200-1100°C) and sulfur fugacity (between f2 and -0.5 log fS2). In contrast, PGM and BMM located along altered edges of chromite and serpentinised silicate matrix are considered to be secondary, formed from or re-equilibrated with altering fluids. Secondary PGM and BMM assemblages are considered as result of the combination of reducing and oxidising events related with regional metamorphism. Under low fO2 states, fS2 also drops giving place to the formation of S-poor Ni-rich sulfides and secondary Ru-alloys by desulfurisation of primary S-containing minerals. In contrast, predominance of platinum-group elements and/or base-metal arsenides and sulfarsenides associated with the altered edges of chromite (chromite strongly enriched in Fe2O3) is related with the fixing of remobilised PGE (mainly Ir, Rh and Pd) and base-metals (mainly Ni and Fe) when late oxidising fluids supplied As as well as Sb and Sn.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-334
Number of pages20
JournalResource Geology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


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