CAFFE pablo Jorge
Lithium enrichment in the Salar de Diablillos, Argentina, and the influence of Cenozoic volcanism in a basin dominated by Paleozoic basement
SARCHI, CARISA; LUCASSEN, FRIEDRICH; MEIXNER, ANETTE; CAFFE, PABLO J.; BECCHIO, RAÚL; KASEMANN, SIMONE A.
Salars with lithium-rich brines are a characteristic feature of the Central Andes, but knowledge about the main sources of lithium and the mobilization processes of lithium in the salar deposits is still incomplete. This work focuses especially on the Salar de Diablillos (southern Puna) as part of a larger area that includes the neighboring Salar Centenario and Salar de Ratones. Building on the ability of Li as a tracer of silicate weathering, we investigate the Li content and isotope compositionof samples from the depocenter and catchment of the Diablillos basin (3-D) and conduct a surface reconnaissance in the Centenario and Ratones depocenters to identify the key metallogenic processes. Radiogenic Sr and Nd isotope compositions are also provided to discriminate the main local Li sources. The isotope data in all three depocenters show that most of theLi in the brines and evaporite deposits are derived from Cenozoic volcanic rocks, despite the dominance of the Paleozoic basement in the catchment. In the Centenario and Ratones depocenters, near-surface chemical weathering appears to be the dominant Li mobilization process. In contrast, hydrothermal mobilization of Li also plays a role in the Salar de Diablillos,possibly related to the presence of a fractured basement with pressure zones and artesian conditions in the aquifer at depth. These fluids also show a larger element contribution from the basement.