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Poás volcano crater lake acts as a condenser for acid metal-rich brine


Models of formation of volcanic-hosted metal deposits hypothesize that subsurface brines transport metals to sites of deposition. Laguna Caliente, in the active crater of Poás volcano, central Costa Rica, consists of acid–sulphate–chloride brine with extreme pH (0.0). Lake water sampled between 9 and 12 January 1987 at eight sites within the 40-m deep, 210-m wide lake revealed temperatures between 58 and 64°C, and densities (measured in the laboratory at 60°C) of 1.0575±0.0015g cm–3. The water's extreme acidity reflects the dominating input of acid fumaroles. The presence of precipitated silica, gypsum and sulphur as sediments reflects lake-water equilibrium with those phases. Mass balance considerations require that dense brines percolate downwards from the lake into the volcano. These may act as a source of metal-rich brine feeding an underground ore-forming hydrothermal system.

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Brantley, S., Borgiatt , A., Rowe, G. et al. Poás volcano crater lake acts as a condenser for acid metal-rich brine. Nature 330, 470–472 (1987).

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