Genesis of the Dordogne (France) high-purity silica placers

Abstract : This article describes the formation of the principal French high-purity silica placer (source for electrometallurgy of silicon and ferrosilicon), the Boudeau deposit in Dordogne, and of one of its subordinate deposits, the Pays Brûlé deposit. Boudeau has always been considered to be a colluvial deposit, formed in a trap produced by extensional tectonism. The present work suggests a new genetic interpretation, based on a combined study of the deposits and their underlying rocks. It shows that the quartz gravel deposits, laid down by stream flow within braided channels, were reworked by karstic progressive sinking, and that the mechanism responsible for the increase in the thickness of the economic formations is cryptokarstic corrosion. This undercovers weathering process, which involves dissolution of karstifiable rocks (oolitic and bioclastic limestones) at their interface with a permeable, non-karstifiable cover composed of chemically pure quartz gravels in a sandy-argillaceous matrix. A typological study of the gravels provides a basis for tackling the problem of their origin and their purity. They seem to be derived mainly from the synmetamorphic quartz mobilisates of the stripped metamorphic units (the lower and upper gneiss units forming the western edge of the Massif Central). Lastly, a dynamic model is suggested for the genesis of the high-purity silica deposits of Dordogne.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, January 9, 2008 - 4:22:50 PM
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Laurent Désindes, M. Durand, Laurent Bailly, Stéphane Jaillet, Vincent Bouchot, et al.. Genesis of the Dordogne (France) high-purity silica placers. International Journal of Earth Sciences, Springer Verlag, 2006, 95, pp.80-94. ⟨10.1007/s00531-005-0024-z⟩. ⟨halsde-00203338⟩

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