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Bacteria as Mediators of Copper Sulfide Enrichment During Weathering
Richard H. Sillitoe, Robert L. Folk and Nicolás Saric
New Series, Vol. 272, No. 5265 (May 24, 1996), pp. 1153-1155
Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2889941
Page Count: 3
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Supergene chalcocite enrichment during weathering is an economically vital natural process that may lead to severalfold increases in the copper content of sulfide deposits. A scanning electron microscope study of chalcocite (Cu$_2$S) from major enriched copper deposits in northern Chile revealed myriad bacterioform bodies in original growth positions near replacement interfaces with remnant hypogene sulfide grains. These minute (0.03 to 0.2 micrometers) chalcocite bodies are interpreted as fossilized and metallized nannobacteria that promoted the fixation of mobilized copper ions. Bacterial activity may thus be a fundamental factor in supergene enrichment of copper deposits.
Science © 1996 American Association for the Advancement of Science