Agates from Western Atlas (Morocco)—Constraints from Mineralogical and Microtextural Characteristics

Jaroslav Pršek, Magdalena Dumańska-Słowik, Tomasz Powolny, Lucyna Natkaniec-Nowak, Tomasz Toboła, Damian Zych, Dominika Skrepnicka
2020 Minerals  
Agate samples collected from the vicinity of Asni and Agouim (Western Atlas, Morocco) were investigated using microscopic observations supported by Raman micro-spectroscopy. The agates are marked by the presence of various microtextures typical of epithermal vein deposits, including jigsaw-puzzle, feathery, and lattice-bladed. The first two indicate that the formation of agates was likely marked by recrystallization of metastable silica phases (i.e., opaline silica or massive chalcedony). The
more » ... esence of lattice-bladed (after barite and calcite) quartz may be, in turn, ascribed to the boiling-related conditions that could have triggered the formation of abundant copper and iron sulfides found within silica matrix. Additionally, the local occurrence of growth lines (so-called Bambauer quartz) and intergrowth of length-slow and length-fast chalcedony are linked to the variations of physico-chemical conditions during rock formation (alkaline-acidic). According to Raman spectroscopy, silica matrix of the agates is made of α-quartz with a local admixture of moganite (from 0.0 up to 78 wt.%), but also contains numerous solid inclusions of hematite, celadonite, as well as poorly-organized carbonaceous material and rutile. These phases were likely emplaced during low-temperature hydrothermal activity of SiO2-bearing fluids that originated from post-magmatic hydrothermal activity developed within host rocks and/or meteoric waters.
doi:10.3390/min10020198 fatcat:6fjqgbm5knfl3gycluosrd7uqe