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Wednesday, April 26 • 12:30pm - 2:00pm
Identification of minerals in sulfide body within granite host at North Buncombe Quarry in Western North Carolina

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The objective of this research is to identify the minerals present in samples of a sulfide body found within the host granite at the Hedrick Industries’ North Buncombe Quarry in Asheville, North Carolina. The geologic setting of the research area is the late Proterozoic aged Ashe Metamorphic Suite (AMS), which is underlain by the Mesoproterozoic aged Grenville basement. The quarry is mining out of a granitic intrusion within the AMS. Quarry operations have met the contact zone between the AMS and the Grenville basement, where they have encountered the sulfide body within the granite intrusion. The AMS, which makes up a majority of surface rocks in western North Carolina, is composed of highly metamorphosed schists and gneisses and some intrusions of ultramafic and granitic rocks. The much older Grenville basement is composed of metamorphic rocks. In August 2016, the quarry began excavating the granite intrusion containing said sulfide deposit, and the conveyor belt leaving the jaw crusher repeatedly shut down as the metallic ore was picked up by metal detectors, to prevent metallic minerals from advancing farther through the crushing process. Samples of the deposit exhibit mild magnetism and metallic luster and were found in both concentrated amounts and distributed throughout the granite samples. Preliminary analyses have identified the majority of the body to be pyrrhotite with the presence of other sulfide minerals. This study identifies the minerals present and their approximate amounts by use of reflective light microscopy, x-ray fluorescence (XRF), backscattered electron (BSE) imaging and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) using a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

Wednesday April 26, 2017 12:30pm - 2:00pm PDT
Concourse - Wilma Sherrill Center