A rhyolitic hyaloclastite from Ponza Island, Italy, was hydrothermally altered, producing four distinct alteration zones based on X-ray diffraction mineralogy and field textures: (1) nonpervasive argillic zone; (2) propylitic zone; (3) silicic zone; and (4) sericitic zone. The unaltered hyaloclastite is volcanic breccia with clasts of vesiculated obsidian in a matrix of predominantly pumice lapilli. Incomplete alteration of the hyaloclastite resulted in the nonpervasive argillic zone, characterized by smectite and disordered opal-CT. The other three zones exhibit more complete alteration of the hyaloclastite. The propylitic zone is characterized by mixed-layer illite-smectite (I-S) with 10 to 85% I, mordenite, opal-C, and authigenic K-feldspar (akspar). The silicic zone is characterized by I-S with ≥90% I, pure illite, quartz, akspar, and occasional albite. The sericitic zone consists primarily of I-S with ≥66% I, pure illite, quartz, and minor akspar and pyrite. K/Ar dates of I-S indicate hydrothermal alteration occurred at 3.38 ± 0.08 Ma. Oxygen isotope compositions of I-S systematically decrease from zones 1 to 4. In the argillic zone, smectite has δ18 O values of 21.7 to 22.0‰ and I-S from the propylitic, silicic, and sericitic zones ranges from 14.5 to 16.3‰, 12.5 to 14.0‰, and 8.6 to 11.9‰, respectively. δ18 O values for quartz from the silicic and sericitic zones range from 12.6 to 15.9‰. By use of isotope fractionation equations and data from authigenic quartz-hosted primary fluid inclusions, alteration temperatures ranged from 50 to 65 °C for the argillic zone, 85 to 125 °C for the propylitic zone, 110 to 210 °C for the silicic zone, and 145 to 225 °C for the sericitic zone. Fluid inclusion data and calculated δ18 O water values indicate that hydrothermal fluids were seawater dominated. Mass-transfer calculations indicate that hydrothermal alteration proceeded in a relatively open chemical system and alteration in the sericitic zone involved the most extensive loss of chemical species, especially Si. Systematic gains in Mg occur in all alteration zones as a result of I-S clay mineral formation, and systematic losses of Na, Ca, and K occur in most zones. With the exception of Ca, calculations of mass transfer associated with hydrothermal alteration on Ponza agree with chemical fluxes observed in laboratory experiments involving hydrothermal reactions of rhyolite and seawater. The anomalous Ca loss at Ponza may be due to hydrothermal formation of anhydrite and later low-temperature dissolution. On the basis of Mg enrichments derived from circulating seawater, we estimate the following minimum water/rock ratios: 9, 3, 6, and 9 for the argillic, propylitic, silicic, and sericitic zones, respectively. Hydrothermal fluid pH for the propylitic and silicic zones was neutral to slightly basic and relatively acidic for the sericitic zone as a result of condensation of carbonic and perhaps other acids.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology