Mineralogy and genesis of the Ni-Co lateritic regolith deposit of the Caldag area (Manisa, western Anatolia), Turkey

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Helvaci C., OYMAN T., Gundogan I., SÖZBİLİR H., PARLAK O., KADİR S., ...More

CANADIAN JOURNAL OF EARTH SCIENCES, vol.55, no.3, pp.252-271, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 55 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1139/cjes-2017-0184
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.252-271
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


The Caldag Ni-Co deposit is characterized by a reddish brown oxide lateritic regolith, containing residual Ni deposit formed by the intense tropical weathering of peridotites. Nickel-Co ore is associated with transported ferricrete during the late Paleocene - middle Eocene, represented by colloform Fe oxides and residual lateritization during the Oligocene. The lateritic regoliths are developed over dunitic ultramafic rocks and consist mainly of smectite, berthierine, kaolinite, gypsum, pyrite, takovite, and pecoraite. These units were examined using polarized-light microscopy, X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and geochemical methods. Mineralogical zonation from the base of the profile upwards has the following zones: ultramafic bedrocks, serpentinized ultramafic rocks (saprock), saprolite, carbonate- and sulfide-bearing zone, ferruginous saprolite zone, and silcrete. In addition, Fe oxides, smectite and opal-CT, and quartz increase towards the surface, whereas olivine, pyroxene, and serpentine decrease upwards in response to chemical weathering. Nickel-Co mineralization associated with Fe oxides and smectitic clays formed under wet and dry conditions, respectively, as a result of an increased Fe2O3 + Al2O3 + Ni + Co/MgO ratio. Field observations and mineralogical and geochemical analyses reveal that the smectite formed under basic conditions was controlled by multistage chemical weathering of ultramafic and volcanic rocks and by the concentrations of Si, Al, Fe, and Mg. Locally, concentrations of S in conjunction with Fe and Ca resulted in precipitation of goethite-hematite, gypsum, and pyrite in dissolution voids in association with smectite under acidic conditions that developed in a well-drained system.