Low-temperature concentration of tellurium and gold in continental red bed successions

John Parnell, Samuel Spinks, David Bellis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


There is very little understanding of tellurium (Te) distribution and behaviour in sedimentary rocks. A suite of 15 samples of reduction spheroids (centimetre-scale pale spheroids in otherwise red rock), including samples from eight localities in Triassic red beds across the British Isles, were mapped for Te using Laser Ablation–Inductively Coupled Plasma–Mass Spectrometry. Almost all showed enrichment in Te in the cores of the spheroids relative to background red bed concentrations, by up to four orders of magnitude. Some were also enriched over background in gold and/or mercury. In one case, discrete telluride minerals were recorded. The data show that Te is mobile and can be concentrated in low-temperature sedimentary environments, controlled by redox variations. The consistency in enrichment across widely separate localities implies that the enrichment is a normal aspect of red bed diagenesis and so likely to be controlled by a ubiquitous process, such as microbial activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalTerra Nova
Issue number3
Early online date13 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by NERC grants (NE/L001764/1, NE/M010953/1). We are grateful to J. Still and A. Sandison for technical support and to the gypsum mines and C. Brolley for access and sampling. Critical comments from Cristiana Ciobanu, Eric Gloaguen and Georges Calas are gratefully acknowledged. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


Dive into the research topics of 'Low-temperature concentration of tellurium and gold in continental red bed successions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this