A demonstration of an affinity between pyrite and organic matter in a hydrothermal setting

Paula Lindgren, John Parnell, Nils G. Holm, Curt Broman

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14 Citations (Scopus)


One of the key-principles of the iron-sulphur world theory is to bring organic molecules close enough to interact with each other, using the surface of pyrite as a substrate in a hydrothermal setting. The present paper explores the relationship of pyrite and organic matter in a hydrothermal setting from the geological record; in hydrothermal calcite veins from Carboniferous limestones in central Ireland. Here, the organic matter is accumulated as coatings around, and through, pyrite grains. Most of the pyrite grains are euhedral-subhedral crystals, ranging in size from ca 0.1-0.5 mm in diameter, and they are scattered throughout the matrix of the vein calcite. The organic matter was deposited from a hydrothermal fluid at a temperature of at least 200 degrees C, and gives a Raman signature of disordered carbon. This study points to an example from a hydrothermal setting in the geological record, demonstrating that pyrite can have a high potential for the concentration and accumulation of organic materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages7
JournalGeochemical Transactions
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2011


  • oxygen Isotopes
  • life
  • sulfur
  • origin
  • Ireland
  • sulfate
  • Mars
  • mineralization
  • silvermines
  • evolution

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