Oxygen Isotope Study of Silica Sinter from the Osorezan Geothermal Field, Northeast Japan


Silica sinter developed on the northern shore of Lake Usoriyama in the Osorezan geothermal field was examined for the occurrence, texture, crystallinity of silica minerals, and the concentrations of trace elements and oxygen isotopes. The silica sinter consists of a thick eastern mound (layer A) and a thin western part (layer B). Most of the silica sinter is composed of alternating bands of thin layers of silica minerals with colors varying from white to yellow and reddish gray. There is a unique stromatolitic texture, an aggregate of stratified concentric layers that extends upward and is red to reddish gray in color in the middle of layer A. Silica minerals, mainly opal-A and opal-CT, dominate the mineralogical constituents of the sinter. The δ18O of the silica mineral in layer A varies between 13‰ and 26‰, while layer B has higher values, between 19‰ and 33‰. The hydrothermal fluid from which the silica sinter precipitated is dominated by meteoric water is similar to present-day hot spring water.

Share and Cite:

K. Hayashi, "Oxygen Isotope Study of Silica Sinter from the Osorezan Geothermal Field, Northeast Japan," International Journal of Geosciences, Vol. 4 No. 10, 2013, pp. 1438-1446. doi: 10.4236/ijg.2013.410141.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] A. Belhadi, T. Nakanishi, K. Watanabe and E. Izawa, “Gold Mineralization and Occurrence of Sinter in the Hoshino Area, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan,” Resource Geology, Vol. 52, No. 4, 2002, pp. 371-380.
[2] B. Jones, R. W. Renaut and M. R. Rosen, “Biogenicity of Silica Precipitation around Geysers and Hot-Spring Vents, North Island, New Zealand,” Journal of Sedimentary Research, Vol. 67, No. 1, 1997, pp. 88-104.
[3] N. R. Herdianita, P. R. L. Brown, K. A. Rodgers and K. A. Campbell, “Mineralogical and Textural Changes Accompanying Ageing of Silica Sinter,” Minerallium Deposita, Vol. 35, No. 1, 2000, pp. 48-62.
[4] R. L. Sherlock, R. M. Tosdal, N. J. Lehman, J. R. Graney, S. Losh, E. C. Jowett and S. E. Kesler, “Origin of the McLaughlin Mine Sheeted Complex: Metal Zoning, Fluid Inclusion and Isotopic Evidence,” Economic Geology, Vol. 90, No. 8, 1995, pp. 2156-2181.
[5] N. H. Trewin, “Depositional Environment and Preservation of Biota in Lower Devonian Hot-springs of Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland,” Transaction of Royal Society of Edinburgh (Earth Science), Vol. 84, 1994, pp. 433-442. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0263593300006234
[6] M. Aoki “Magmatic Fluid Discharging to the Surface from the Osorezan Geothermal System, Northern Honshu, Japan,” Geological Survey of Japan Report, No. 279, 1992, pp. 16-21.
[7] New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, “Shimokita Area,” Geothermal Development Promotion Survey Project Report, NEDO, No. 9 (in Japanese).
[8] S. Togashi, “Petrology of Osore-Yama Volcano, Japan,” Journal of Japanese Association of Mineralogists, Petrologists and Economic Geologists, Vol. 72, No. 1, 1977, pp. 45-61. http://dx.doi.org/10.2465/ganko1941.72.45
[9] M. Aoki “Gold and Base metal Mineralization in an Evolving Hydrothermal System at Osorezan, Northern Honshu, Japan,” Geological Survey of Japan Report, No. 277, 1991, pp. 67-70.
[10] M. Aoki and M. Hosoda “Mode of Occurrence and Genesis of Silica Minerals in the Osorezan Geothermal Area,” Science Report of Hirosaki University, Vol. 29, 1982, pp. 114-121. (in Japanese)
[11] M. Aoki and S. Yui, “Mineralogical Properties and Genesis of Scorodite in the Osorezan Geothermal Area,” Science Report of Hirosaki University, Vol. 28, 1981, pp. 104-111. (in Japanese)
[12] H. Graetsch, “Structural Characteristics of Opaline and Microcrystalline Silica Minerals,” Reviews in Mineralogy, Vol. 29, 1994, pp. 209-232.
[13] B. Jones, R. W. Renaut and M. R. Rosen, ”Biogenicity of Gold- and Silver-Bearing Siliceous Sinters Forming in Hot (75°C) Anaerobic Spring-water of Champagne Pool, Waiotapu, North Island, New Zealand,” Journal of Geological Society of London, Vol. 158, No. 6, 2001, pp. 895-911.
[14] B. Y. Lynne, K. A. Campbell, B. J. James, P. R. L. Browne and J. Moore, “Tracking Crystallinity in Siliceous Hot-Spring Deposits,” American Journal of Science, Vol. 307, No. 3, 2007, pp. 612-641.
[15] K. J. Murata and M. B. II. Norman, “An Index of Crystallinity for Quartz,” American Journal of Science, Vol. 276, No. 9, 1976, pp. 1120-1130.
[16] N. R. Herdianita, K. A. Rodgers and P. R. L. Brown, “Routine Instrumental Procedures to Characterize the Mineralogy of Modern and Ancient Silica Sinters,” Geothermics, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2000, pp. 65-81.
[17] R. Cunneen and R. H. Sillitoe, “Paleozoic Hot Spring Sinter in the Drummond Basin, Queensland, Australia,” Economic Geology, Vol. 84, No. 1, 1989, pp. 135-142.
[18] N. C. White, D. G. Wood and M. C. Lee, “Epithermal Sinters of Paleozoic Age in North Queensland, Australia,” Geology, Vol. 17, No. 8, 1989, pp. 718-722.
[19] R. Day and B. Jones, “Variation in Water Content in Opal-A and Opal-CT from Geyser Discharge Aprons,” Journal of Sedimentary Research, Vol. 78, No. 4, 2008, pp. 301-315. http://dx.doi.org/10.2110/jsr.2008.030
[20] K. Hayashi, T. Maruyama and H. Satoh, “Precipitation of Gold in a Low-Sulfidation Epithermal Gold Deposit: Insight from a Submillimeter-Scale Oxygen Isotope Analysis of Vein Quartz,” Economic Geology, Vol. 96, No. 1, 2001, pp. 211-216.
[21] K. Hayashi, T. Maruyama and H. Satoh, “Submillimeter Scale Variation of Oxygen Isotope of Vein Quartz at the Hishikari Deposit, Japan,” Resource Geology, Vol. 50, No. 3, 2000, pp. 141-150.
[22] R. O. Fournier and J. J. Rowe, “Estimation of Underground Temperatures from the Silica Content of Water from Hot Springs and Wet-steam Wells,” American Journal of Science, Vol. 264, No. 9, 1966, pp. 685-697.
[23] J. D. Rimstidt and D. R. Cole, “Geothermal Mineralization I: The Mechanism of Formation of the Beowawe, Nevada, Siliceous Sinter Deposit,” American Journal of Science, Vol. 283, No. 8, 1983, pp. 861-875.
[24] L. Zhang, L. Jingxiu, Z. Huanbo and C. Zhensheng, “Oxygen Isotope Fractionation in the Quartz-Water-Salt System,” Economic Geology, Vol. 84, No. 6, 1989, pp. 1643-1650. http://dx.doi.org/10.2113/gsecongeo.84.6.1643
[25] J. Hoefs, “Stable Isotope Geochemistry,” 5th Edition, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2004.
[26] H. P. Taylor, “The Application of Oxygen and Hydrogen Isotope Studies to Problems of Hydrothermal Alteration and Ore Deposition,” Economic Geology, Vol. 69, No. 6, 1974, pp. 843-883.
[27] I. Kita, S. Taguchi and O. Matsubaya, “Oxygen Isotope Fractionation between Amorphous Silica and Water at 34°C-93°C,” Nature, Vol. 314, No. 6006, 1985, pp. 83-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/314083a0
[28] C. Mizota and M. Kusakabe, “Spatial Distribution of δD-δ18O Values of Surface and Shallow Groundwaters from Japan, South Korea and East China,” Geochemical Journal, Vol. 28, No. 5, 1994, pp. 387-410.
[29] W. F. Giggenbach, “Isotopic Shifts in Water from Geothermal and Hydrothermal Systems along Convergent Plate Boundaries and their Origin,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Vol. 113, No. 4, 1992, pp. 495-510.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.