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Gem minerals at Lava Plains, northeast Queensland, offer further insights into mantle-crustal gemformation under young basalt fields. Combined mineralogy, U-Pb age determination, oxygen isotope and petrological data on megacrysts and meta-aluminosilicate xenoliths establish a geochemical evolution in sapphire, zircon formation between 5 to 2 Ma. Sapphire megacrysts with magmatic signatures (Fe/Mg ∼100–1000, Ga/Mg 3–18) grew with ∼3 Ma micro-zircons of both mantle (δ18O 4.5–5.6%) and crustal (δ18O 9.5–10.1‰) affinities. Zircon megacrysts (3±1 Ma) show mantle and crustal characteristics, but most grew at crustal temperatures (600–800°C). Xenolith studies suggest hydrous silicate melts and fluids initiated from amphibolized mantle infiltrated into kyanite+sapphire granulitic crust (800°C, 0.7 GPa). This metasomatized the sapphire (Fe/Mg ∼50–120, Ga/Mg ∼3–11), left relict metastable sillimanite-corundum-quartz and produced minerals enriched in high field strength, large ion lithophile and rare earth elements. The gem suite suggests a syenitic parentage before its basaltic transport. Geographical trace-element typing of the sapphire megacrysts against other eastern Australian sapphires suggests a phonolitic involvement.
The discoloring interaction between the artist's pigments cadmium yellow and the copper-containing malachite, an interaction that is conjectured to cause black spotting in oil paintings of the 19th and early 20th centuries, was examined using X-ray mapping and scatter diagram analysis. The application of these coupled techniques confirmed that copper sulfide phases were produced during discoloration reaction. Scatter diagram analysis indicated that two copper sulfide stoichiometries (CuS and Cu3S2) were present as reaction products where previously only crystalline CuS (covellite) had been identified by X-ray diffraction. The results demonstrate the potential of X-ray mapping coupled with scatter diagram analysis for the identification of both crystalline and X-ray amorphous phases produced by such complex heterogeneous interactions and their applicability to the investigation of interactions of artists' pigments.