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Paper No. 9
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM


MCMILLAN, Melissa M.1, DOWNS, Robert T.1, STEIN, Holly J.2, ZIMMERMAN, Aaron3, BEITSCHER, Bailey4, SVERJENSKY, Dimitri A.5, PAPINEAU, Dominic6, ARMSTRONG, John6 and HAZEN, Robert M.6, (1)Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, 1040 East 4th Street, Tucson, AZ 85721, (2)AIRIE Program, Department of Geosciences, Colorado State University, and Geological Survey of Norway, Fort Collins, CO 80523, (3)AIRIE Program, Department of Geosciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, (4)OXY Permian, Houston, TX 77046, (5)Earth & Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, (6)Geophysical Laboratory and NASA Astrobiology Institute, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 5251 Broad Branch rd NW, Washington, DC 20015,

Mineral evolution explores changes through time in Earth’s near-surface mineralogy, including diversity of species, relative abundances of species, and compositional ranges of major, minor and trace elements. Such studies elucidate the co-evolution of the geosphere and biosphere. Accordingly, we investigated trace and minor elements in molybdenite (MoS2) with known ages from 3 billion years to recent. Molybdenite, the commonest mineral of Mo, may prove to be a useful case study as a consequence of its presence in Earth’s early history, the effects of oxidation on Mo mobility, and the possible role of Mo mineral coevolution with biology via its role in the nitrogen fixation enzyme nitrogenase. We employed ICPMS, SEM and electron microprobe analyses to detect trace and minor elements. We detected significant amounts of Mn and Cu (~100 ppm) and greater amounts of Fe, W, and Re (to ~4000 ppm). Molybdenites commonly contain micro inclusions, resulting in local concentrations in otherwise homogeneous samples. Inhomogeneities in Fe, Zn and Sn concentrations, for example, point to the presence of pyrite, sphalerite and cassiterite inclusions, respectively. Analyses examined as a function of time reveal that samples containing significant concentrations (>200 ppm, compared to average values < 100 ppm) of W and Re formed primarily within the last billion years. These trends may reflect changes in the mobility of W and Re in oxic hydrothermal fluids at shallow crustal conditions following the Great Oxidation Event.
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