Zebra rocks : compaction waves create ore deposits

Kelka, Ulrich and Veveakis, Manolis and Koehn, Daniel and Beaudoin, Nicolas (2017) Zebra rocks : compaction waves create ore deposits. Scientific Reports, 7. ISSN 2045-2322

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    Abstract

    Nature has a range of distinct mechanisms that cause initially heterogeneous systems to break their symmetry and form patterns. One of these patterns is zebra dolomite that is frequently hosting economically important base metal mineralization. A consistent generic model for the genesis of these periodically banded rocks is still lacking. In this contribution, we present for the first time a fully consistent mathematical model for the genesis of the pattern by coupling the reactive fluid-solid system with hydromechanics. We show that visual banding develops at a given stress and host-rock permeability indicating that the wavelength and occurrence of the pattern may be predictable for natural settings. This finding offers the exciting possibility of estimating conditions of formation of known deposits as well as forecasting potential exploration targets.