Geochemical and mineralogical characteristics of calamines from the Olkusz zinc and lead ore district (South Poland)

Maciej Krzysztof Swęd, Agata Duczmal-Czernikiewicz


The mineralogical and geochemical characteristics of calamines developed from chemical weathering within two different tectonic settings (tectonic horst and graben) are described. Calamines collected from the Olkusz-Pomorzany and the Bolesław zinc and lead mines were analysed geochemically by means of EMP and SEM-EDS and their mineralogical composition was identified by using reflected light microscopy and XRD analysis. The calamines from the Olkusz-Pomorzany mine are composed of marcasite, galena, cerussite, sphalerite, hemimorphite, smithsonite and goethite. Hemimorphite prevails over smithsonite and occurs in the vicinity of primary sulphides. The mineralogical composition of the calamines from the Bolesław area is less diverse. These are primarily composed of goethite and smithsonite, with a minor content of marcasite and remnant sphalerite. The mineral composition of weathering sites in the Olkusz-Pomorzany and Bolesław areas may reflect different geochemical conditions (from slightly acidic to alkaline pH values, from lower to higher CO2 partial pressure and solutions of different silica saturation) that could have changed over time. The mineralogical compositions of the calamines differ quantitatively and this could reflect the tectonic setting of the primary ore affecting the rate of chemical weathering.


calamines; chemical weathering; supergene zone; tectonic horst and graben; hemimorphite; smithsonite

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