This study explores the suitability of apatite as a tracer of the source(s), chemistry, and evolution of ore-forming hydrothermal fluids. This is tested by analysing the halogen (F, Cl, Br, and I), stable Cl isotopic, and trace element compositions of fluorapatite from the regional-scale Olserum-Djupedal rare earth element (REE) phosphate mineralisation in SE Sweden, which is dominated by monazite-(Ce), xenotime-(Y), and fluorapatite. The primary hydrothermal fluid flow system is recorded in a sequence from proximal granite-hosted to distal metasediment-hosted fluorapatite. Along this sequence, primary fluorapatite shows a gradual increase of Cl and Br concentrations and in (Gd/Yb)(N), a decrease of F and I concentrations, a decrease in delta Cl-37 values, in (La/Sm)(N), and partly in (La/Yb)(N) and (Y/Ho)(N). Local compositional differences of halogen and trace element concentrations have developed along rims and in domains adjacent to fractures of fluorapatite due to late-stage partial reaction with fracture fluids. These differences are insignificant compared to the larger deposit-scale zoning. This suggests that apatite can retain the primary record of the original ore-forming fluid despite later overprinting fluid events. The agreement between Br/Cl and I/Cl ratios of apatite and those of co-existing fluid inclusions at lower temperatures indicates that only a minor fractionation of Br from I occurs during apatite precipitation. The halogen ratios of apatite can thus be used as a first-order estimate for the composition of the ore-forming fluid. Taking the small fractionation factors for Cl isotopes between apatite and co-existing fluid at high temperatures into account, we propose that the Cl isotopic composition of apatite and the halogen ratios derived from the apatite composition can be used jointly to trace the source(s) of ore-forming fluids. By contrast, most trace elements incorporated in apatite are affected by the host rock environment and by fluid-mineral partitioning due to growth competition between co-crystallising minerals. Collectively, apatite is sensitive to changing fluid compositions, yet it is also able to record the character of primary ore-forming fluids. Thus, apatite is suitable for tracing the origin, chemistry, and evolution of fluids in hydrothermal ore-forming settings. (C) 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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