Composition of native Cu, Cu isotope and mineral analysis from different samples of ODP and DSDP

Ocean drilling has revealed that, although a minor mineral phase, native Cu ubiquitously occurs in the oceanic crust. Cu isotope systematics for native Cu from a set of occurrences from volcanic basement and sediment cover of the oceanic crust drilled at several sites in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans constrains the sources of Cu and processes that produced Cu**0. We propose that both hydrothermally-released Cu and seawater were the sources of Cu at these sites. Phase stability diagrams suggest that Cu**0 precipitation is favored only under strictly anoxic, but not sulfidic conditions at circum-neutral pH even at low temperature. In the basaltic basement, dissolution of primary igneous and potentially hydrothermal Cu-sulfides leads to Cu**0 precipitation along veins. The restricted Cu-isotope variations (delta 65Cu = 0.02-0.19 per mil) similar to host volcanic rocks suggest that Cu**0 precipitation occurred under conditions where Cu+-species were dominant, precluding Cu redox fractionation. In contrast, the Cu-isotope variations observed in the Cu**0 from sedimentary layers yield larger Cu-isotope fractionation (delta 65Cu = 0.41-0.95 per mil) suggesting that Cu**0 precipitation involved redox processes during the diagenesis, with potentially seawater as the primary Cu source. We interpret that native Cu precipitation in the basaltic basement is a result of low temperature (20°-65 °C) hydrothermal processes under anoxic, but not H2S-rich conditions. Consistent with positive delta 65Cu signatures, the sediment cover receives major Cu contribution from hydrogenous (i.e., seawater) sources, although hydrothermal contribution from plume fallout cannot be entirely discarded. In this case, disseminated hydrogenous and/or hydrothermal Cu might be diagenetically remobilized and reprecipitated as Cu**0 in reducing microenvironment.

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