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Authors: Mormone, Angela* 
Ghiara, Maria Rosaria* 
Balassone, Giuseppina* 
Piochi, Monica* 
Lonis, Roberto* 
Rossi, Manuela* 
Title: High-silica zeolites in pyroclastic flows from Central Sardinia (Italy): clues on genetic processes and reserves from a mineralogical study
Issue Date: 2018
Series/Report no.: 2/112(2018)
DOI: 10.1007/s00710-018-0583-x
Abstract: The island of Sardinia (Italy) presents some of the most interesting zeolite ores in Europe, most of which are associated with old pyroclastic deposits. In particular, the poorly welded ash and pumice pyroclastic flows of the Oligo-Miocene Allai unit were the suspected cause for the widespread zeolitization processes and their subsequent potential economic interest. Fourteen stratigraphic sequences of those Allai flows were sampled and studied, in order to fill the gap existing in the mineralogical database of Sardinian zeolites. A multi-analytical strategy has been used to determine for the first time the nature, the distribution and the textural relationships of the main zeolite types throughout the pyroclastic flows, as well as the geochemical features of the zeolite-bearing rocks. The overall data contribute to depict the main genetic process that involved a hydrothermal environment operative under a dominant closed system, at temperature near to 200 °C and progressively proceeded thanks to cooling and chemical variation of the fluids permeating the matrix. The investigated zeolites mainly consist of Ca-clinoptilolite and/or Na-mordenite, up to 38% in abundance. However, contrarily to the most common clinoptilolite + mordenite paragenesis, mordenite zeolitization is really abundant in the studied ignimbrites in relation to their pristine rhyolitic compositions. The weight percentages and distribution of the industrial minerals throughout the pyroclastic deposits presented by this work can be an important background information for an evaluation of the quality and the reserves of this zeolite mineralization aimed at a possible future exploitation and potential use.
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