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Unusual scandium enrichments of the Tørdal pegmatites, south Norway. Part I: Garnet as Sc exploration pathfinder

Steffenssen, G.; Müller, A.; Munnik, F.; Friis, H.; Erambert, M.; Kristoffersen, M.; Rosing-Schow, N.

The granitic pegmatites of the Tørdal area in southern Norway have been known for their Sc enrichment for about 100 years. Scandium is a compatible element in garnet. In this study, 32 garnet samples from 16 pegmatite localities across the Tørdal pegmatite field were investigated to determine the Sc distribution within garnets (crystal scale), within pegmatite bodies (pegmatite scale) and across the Tørdal pegmatite field (regional scale). In the Tørdal pegmatites, Sc content in garnet is representative for the Sc bulk composition of pegmatites, defining garnet as a reliable pathfinder mineral for the exploration of Sc mineralization in pegmatite fields. Garnets with highest Sc concentrations of up to 2197 µg/g have a spessartine component ranging from 50 to 60 mol.%. Since most garnets crystallized during the early stage of pegmatite formation (wall zone stage) Sc decreases in the remaining pegmatite melt, as documented by generally decreasing Sc from core to rim of crystals and by the occurrence of late-stage garnets (albite zone stage) with low Sc. Thus, with progressing crystallization Sc decreases in the melt. The regional Sc distribution in the Tørdal pegmatite field revealed that the Skardsfjell-Heftetjern-Høydalen pegmatites have highest Sc enrichments to sub-economic levels, with an average bulk Sc content of 53 µg/g and an average Sc content in garnet of about 1900 µg/g in the Heftetjern 2 pegmatite.
The assumed resources of the Skardsfjell-Heftetjern-Høydalen area are about 125,000 t ore grading c. 50 µg/g Sc resulting in a total of 625 t Sc, which is too small to have economic potential. However, the strong Sc enrichment of the Tørdal pegmatites is unusual for granitic pegmatites, making them a specific Sc deposit type. The amphibolitic host rocks of the Tørdal pegmatites are identified as the source rocks of Sc. The host rocks, which are part of the Nissedal Outlier supracrustals, are enriched in Sc (mean 34 µg/g) compared to average crustal compositions (mean 14 µg/g). Scandium of amphiboles was preferentially released at the onset of partial melting of the amphibolites. Thus, the Sc content in the pegmatite is strongly dependent on the degree of partial melting.

Keywords: scandium; pegmatite; garnet; Sveconorwegian orogeny; Tørdal

Publ.-Id: 31434