Brady et al.
 Geological Materials Research
 v.1, n.2
Isotope geochemistry of Proterozoic talc occurrences in Archean marbles of the Ruby Mountains, southwest Montana, U.S.A.

John B. Brady1, John T. Cheney2, Amy Larson Rhodes1
Angela Vasquez2, Chris Green2, Mathieu Duvall3, Ari Kogut4
Lewis Kaufman5, Dana Kovaric1

Departments of Geology: 1Smith College, Northampton, MA  01063 <> 2Amherst College, Amherst, MA, 3Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, 4Beloit College, Beloit, WI, 5College of Wooster, Wooster, OH
(Received July 15, 1998; Published December 31, 1998)


Talc occurs as massive, economic deposits in upper amphibolite facies marbles of Archean age in southwestern Montana. Previous workers have demonstrated that the talc is a replacement of the marble that resulted from interaction with a large volume of fluid. d18O (SMOW) values for dolomite and calcite range from 20-25 per mil for the unaltered Archean marbles to as little as 8-10 per mil in the talc deposits, suggesting that the metasomatic fluids had low d18O values. In contrast, d13C values for calcite and dolomite are similar for all samples (-2 to +2 per mil PDB). Therefore, it is likely that the metasomatic fluids were oxygen-rich and carbon-poor, namely water-rich and CO2-poor. A CO2-poor fluid is also indicated by delta13C (calcite-graphite) values (3.6-5.3 per mil), which appear little altered from values expected for upper amphibolite facies marbles, and by the occurrence of the mineral assemblage talc+calcite. 40Ar/39Ar age spectra for hornblende, phlogopite, and biotite record cooling at 1.72 Ga from a regional thermal event. 40Ar/39Ar age spectra of fine-grained muscovite associated with the talc date talc formation at 1.36 Ga. The Ar data limit the temperature of talc crystallization to below ~350°C, the biotite closure temperature for Ar diffusion. If the metasomatic fluid was seawater (0 per mil), then the carbonate oxygen data require a minimum temperature of 270°C for talc formation. Oxygen (d18O = 4.7 to 8.8 per mil) and hydrogen (D/H = -49.9 to -57.6 SMOW) isotope data for the talc are consistent with a 200°-300°C metasomatic fluid derived from seawater, based on theoretical models of the fractionation of oxygen and hydrogen between talc and water. Regional, northwest-trending faults associated with the extension that formed the Belt Basin in the Middle Proterozoic may have provided channels for seawater to circulate in continental crust and to react with marble, forming talc at depths of 5-10 km.

Keywords: talc, oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, argon, isotopes, Proterozoic, metasomatic, dolomite, calcite, graphite, chlorite, Montana

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Copyright ©1998 by the Mineralogical Society of America