Methane in sulphides from gold-bearing deposits, Britain and Ireland

John Parnell (Corresponding Author), Sam Spinks, Nigel Blamey

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The direct measurement of gases trapped in sulphide minerals shows that samples from gold-bearing deposits in Britain and Ireland are anomalously rich in methane. Chalcopyrite samples in deposits of Palaeozoic age sited in Neoproterozoic basement (Caledonides greenschist), Munster Basin (Variscides greenschist) and the Carboniferous cover (diagenetic) were compared using mass spectrometry of cold-crushed gases. All host sequences contain sources of organic matter. The content of non-aqueous gas is greater in both sets of greenschist-hosted deposits than in the diagenetic-hosted deposits. However, chalcopyrite accompanying gold in the Neoproterozoic is methane-rich, but in the low-gold Munster Basin it is methane-poor. These gas data from opaque minerals complement fluid inclusion data from gangue minerals, and add support to models for the involvement of organic species in orogenic gold mineralization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Earth Science
Issue number3
Early online date11 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • chalcopyrite
  • copper mineralisation
  • gold
  • Caledonides
  • cold crush gases
  • Britain
  • Ireland
  • Chalcopyrite


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