2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 710, 2004)
Paper No. 94-7
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM

QUICKSILVER ORES FROM THE TERLINGUA MINING DISTRICT, ELECTRON MICROPROBE ANALYSIS, AND DEVELOPMENT OF SKILLS NEEDED FOR THE SUCCESSFUL APPLICATION OF INDEPENDENT GEOLOGIC RESEARCH

ALAVI, Seyed Matin1, CATLOS, Elizabeth J.1, and OZERDEM, Cenk2, (1) School of Geology, Oklahoma State Univ, 105 Noble Research Center, Stillwater, OK 74078, orbizy@yahoo.com, (2) Dept. Geosciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Univ, 4044 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061

The purpose of this study was to conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis of mercury ores in calcite veins from the Terlingua quicksilver mining district in Texas to better understand the relationships of the ore minerals (cinnabar, metacinnabar, calomel, and terlinguaite) with the surrounding host rock minerals (predominantly calcite and various iron bearing minerals). Several days were spent independently investigating the local geology, visiting mines, collecting samples, and speaking to locals about sites for further research work. As part of a course in Electron Microprobe Analysis at Oklahoma State University, epoxy plugs were made of three calcite veins and one Fe-bearing rock. These samples were chosen because of their proximity to known localities of mercury ore deposits. The samples were analyzed for their mercury content using the energy dispersive spectral analysis capability of the electron microprobe, element mapping, and back-scattered electron imaging. Although no mercury was detected, the next goal will be to explore for mercury in other samples and using the wavelength dispersive spectrometers. This project provided first-hand research experience for an undergraduate student, from collecting samples in the field to performing lab work to begin answering in-depth geologic questions about the migration of mercury through ore-bearing rocks. The student developed the research goal independently, and although it could not be answered in one semester, the electron microprobe course allowed students to explore and test hypotheses about topics of their particular interest.

2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 710, 2004)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 94--Booth# 128
Involvement of Undergraduates in Geological Research: Critical Tools for Background Enrichment (Posters)
Colorado Convention Center: Exhibit Hall
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Monday, 8 November 2004

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 36, No. 5, p. 234

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