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Geochemical Journal
Geochemical Journal An open access journal for geochemistry
Published for geochemistry community from Geochemical Society of Japan.

Kinetic sulfur isotope effects in the thermal decomposition of pyrite

Yoshimichi Kajiwara, Akira Sasaki, Osamu Matsubara
Geochemical Journal, Vol. 15, No. 4, P. 193-197, 1981


A remarkable isotopic effect of sulfur has been confirmed in the thermal decomposition of pyrite at 600°C in vacuo. The reaction concerned may be written as pyrite(FeS2) → pyrrhotite(FeS) + elemental sulfur(S). 34S/32S ratio of an early fraction of the released elemental sulfur is some 12‰ lower than that of the source pyrite sulfur. Toward the end of the reaction the pyrrhotite dominant solid residue has the isotopic ratio up to about 4.5 ‰ higher than the initial material. A “Rayleigh model” which involves two isotopic fractionation factors, α1(FeS/FeS2) and α2(S/FeS2), seems to hold in the case. The estimated α1 and α2 are 0.9951 and 0.9883, respectively. The result may have significant bearing on sulfur isotope geochemistry, particularly because of the very large isotopic effect at a high temperature.

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