Mineralium Deposita (v.36, #5)

The application of the Sm–Nd isotope system of scheelite to dating of low-sulfide, quartz-vein hosted Au mineralization is still under discussion. In the present work, new Sm–Nd and Rb–Sr data for scheelite from the giant Muruntau/Myutenbai Au deposit (Kyzylkum, Western Uzbekistan) are discussed. Based on the geological relationship, mineralogical properties, and trace element characteristics, two types of scheelite can be distinguished within the deposit. The first one is represented by early bluish luminescent and weakly coloured scheelite (generation 1) found within strongly deformed flat quartz veins. The apparent isochron defined by this scheelite (351±22 Ma) is interpreted as a mixing line. Typically brownish to orange and yellowish luminescent scheelite from steeply dipping veins (generation 2) defines a Sm–Nd isochron age of 279±18 Ma (εNd=–9.5±0.3; MSWD: 1.5). No evidence for mixing or disturbance by late alteration were found for these scheelites. This Sm–Nd isochron age agrees with the Rb–Sr and K–Ar age range for wall rock alteration in this deposit reported previously. The age of 280 Ma is interpreted to date the high-grade ore formation in the Muruntau deposit. There are currently no reliable age data available on the magmatic events in the Muruntau region. Probably, there is some overlap in time of the Hercynian gold deposition with the intrusion of lamprophyric dykes. The Nd and Sr isotopic signatures of scheelite define the wall rocks (mainly metasiltstones and metasandstones) as the most probable sources for these elements in scheelite.

Topaz–albite granites and rare-metal mineralization in the Limu District, Guangxi Province, southeast China by Jin-Chu Zhu; Ren-Ke Li; Fu-Chun Li; Xiao-Lin Xiong; Feng-Ying Zhou; Xiao-Long Huang (393-405).
The topaz–albite granites of the Limu district are ultra-acidic, peraluminous, Li–F–Na-rich and Sn–Ta–Nb-mineralized. A distinct vertical zonation is developed in the granite stocks. There is an upward, systematic transition from leucocratic microcline-albite granite, through albite-microcline granite, topaz–albite granite, pegmatite stockscheider and layered pegmatite–aplite dikes, to K-feldspar–quartz veins and lepidolite–fluorite stringers in the country rocks. Snow-ball textures, homogeneous distribution of rock-forming and accessory minerals, disseminated mineralization, and melt inclusions in quartz, topaz, and albite are typical features indicative of their crystallization from the late stage Li–F–Na-rich and Sn–Ta–Nb-bearing residual granitic melts at a higher intrusion level. A comparison with rare-metal-bearing pegmatite, ongonite, topaz rhyolite and obsidian glass from other regions shows the worldwide existence of these specialized residual melts. Their emplacement and crystallization in a variety of geological environments result in the formation of a series of chemically similar rocks with different petrographic textures and mineral associations. The topaz–albite granites and associated mineralization in the Limu district provide a good example of highly evolved magmatic fractionation in the F-rich granite system and fluid/melt partitioning behavior of rare-metal elements during magmatic-hydrothermal evolution.
Keywords: Fractional crystallization Rare-metal mineralization Residual granitic melts Topaz–albite granites Vertical zonation

Statistical analysis of the vein thickness distributions of veins in the Cambrian Hellyer volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposit, Australia, indicates that the vein thickness data conform to power-law distributions characterised by fractal dimensions D. The most intensely mineralised vein type is characterised by a low fractal dimension, whereas weakly mineralised or barren vein types have elevated D-values. The observed differences in the fractal dimensions suggest that the study of vein thickness distributions may provide a tool in exploration. It is also shown that the field observations can be explained by a model linking the fractal dimensions of the vein thickness distributions with the mechanisms responsible for the formation and evolution of the vein systems.

Lead, Rb–Sr, and Sm–Nd isotopes have been used to constrain the sources and the timing of mineralisation at the Neves Corvo VHMS deposit of the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB). Sulfide- and cassiterite-rich ores, together with a mineralised felsic volcanic rock, yield a Rb–Sr errorchron age of 347±25 Ma with an initial 87Sr/86Sr=0.71031±65. The Rb–Sr results agree with palynological age constraints for ore formation at Neves Corvo, and are indistinguishable from several other mineralisation ages, indicating that major orebodies in the IPB formed coevally at ~350 Ma. In contrast, wide variations in initial 143Nd/144Nd indicate limited rare-earth-element redistribution during ore deposition. Initial εNd (350 Ma) values range from –0.2 to –9.7 for copper ores, –8.9 to –9.4 for copper-tin ores, and –6.9 (cassiterite) to –9.5 for tin ores, implying that neither the IPB volcanic host rocks [εNd (350 Ma) >–2.1; 87Sr/86Sr0<0.70664], nor contemporaneous seawater (87Sr/86Sr0 ~0.708), could have been the exclusive sources for the Neves Corvo ores. Distinct mixing arrays in the εNd (350 Ma)–Sm/Nd and 206Pb/204Pb–207Pb/204Pb diagrams demonstrate that sulfide and tin ore deposition involved ore-forming solutions from different sources. Whereas sulfide-ore compositional variations are consistent with significant incorporation of "typical" IBP volcanic-seawater derived hydrothermal components, the highly radiogenic lead and (exclusively) low-εNd values preserved in tin ores require a predominant derivation from external sources. This could be either a magmatic source (which must have been different from the typical IPB felsic magmas), or a metamorphic fluid deeply circulated through older basement rocks.
Keywords: Iberian Pyrite Belt Massive sulfide deposits Neves Corvo Radiogenic isotopes Tin

Mineralisation at the Courtbrown deposit in south-western Ireland is concentrated in the basal section of the Chadian Waulsortian Limestone, immediately above the Courceyan Ballysteen Limestone. Two episodes of sulphide deposition have been identified: an early stage of minor pyrite precipitation, and a later base-metal-rich mineralisation event. Sphalerite, galena and pyrite of the later mineralisation event occur predominantly as replacement phases along stylolites, dissolution seams, and within the micritic matrix of the host limestone. These sulphide minerals also occur as cements within late stage fractures.The following diagenetic phases are present in the Waulsortian and Ballysteen Limestones in the Courtbrown area (from oldest to youngest): non-luminescent synsedimentary calcite cements, non-luminescent equant calcite cements, bright luminescent calcite cement, dull luminescent calcite cement, planar dolomite cement and replacement dolomite (regional dolomite), saddle dolomite cement, and fibrous dull luminescent calcite cement filling pressure-shadows around the sulphide minerals.Homogenisation temperatures for primary fluid inclusions within dull luminescent calcite cements (precipitated penecontemporaneously with base-metal mineralisation) range from 160 to 200 °C, with a mode at 170–180 °C. These values are unlikely to be representative of mineralisation temperatures as the fluid inclusions may have been significantly affected by heating and/or deformation during late burial (maximum paleotemperatures from Ro and CAI data around 310 °C).The observed paragenetic sequence indicates that mineralisation is completely epigenetic. As the earliest mineralisation is hosted by macro-stylolites, the sequence must have obtained a minimum burial depth of around 800 m prior to the onset of mineralisation. A burial depth of 800 m would correspond to an approximate early Chadian age for the Courtbrown area. Pressure-shadows around sphalerite further indicate that mineralisation preceded the major phase of Variscan deformation. Therefore, the base-metal mineralisation at Courtbrown is epigenetic, and the age of mineralisation is in the range of 350 to 307 Ma.

Proterozoic low-sulfidation epithermal Au-Ag mineralization in the Mallery Lake area, Nunavut, Canada by William Turner; Jeremy Richards; Bruce Nesbitt; Karlis Muehlenbachs; John Biczok (442-457).
The Mallery Lake area contains pristine examples of ancient precious metal-bearing low-sulfidation epithermal deposits. The deposits are hosted by rhyolitic flows of the Early Proterozoic Pitz Formation, but are themselves apparently of Middle Proterozoic age. Gold mineralization occurs in stockwork quartz veins that cut the rhyolites, and highest gold grades (up to 24 g/t over 30 cm) occur in the Chalcedonic Stockwork Zone. Quartz veining occurs in two main types: barren A veins, characterized by fine- to coarse-grained comb quartz, with fluorite, calcite, and/or adularia; and mineralized B veins, characterized by banded chalcedonic silica and fine-grained quartz, locally intergrown with fine-grained gold or electrum. A third type of quartz vein (C), which crosscuts B veins at one locality, is characterized by microcrystalline quartz intergrown with fine-grained hematite and rare electrum. Fluid inclusions in the veins occur in two distinct assemblages. Assemblage 1 inclusions represent a moderate temperature (Th=150 to 220 °C), low salinity (~1 eq. wt% NaCl, with trace CO2), locally boiling fluid; this fluid type is found in both A and B veins and is thought to have been responsible for Au-Ag transport and deposition. Assemblage 2 inclusions represent a lower temperature (Th=90 to 150 °C), high salinity calcic brine (23 to 31 wt% CaCl2-NaCl), which occurs as primary inclusions only in the barren A veins. Assemblage 1 and 2 inclusions occur in alternating quartz growth bands in the A-type veins, where they appear to represent alternating fluxes of dilute fluid and local saline groundwater. No workable primary fluid inclusions were observed in the C veins. The A-vein quartz yields δ18O values from 8.3 to 14.5‰ (average=10.9±1.7‰ [1σ], n=30), whereas δ18O values for B-vein quartz range from 11.2 to 14.0‰ (average=13.0±0.9‰, n=12). Calculated δ18OH2O values for the dilute mineralizing fluid from B veins range from –2.6 to 0.2‰ (average=–0.8±0.9‰, n=12) and are consistent with a dominantly meteoric origin. No values could be calculated for the brine, however, because all A-vein quartz samples contain mixed fluid inclusion populations. However, the fact that A-vein quartz samples extend to lower δ18O values than the B veins suggests that the brine had a lighter isotopic signature relative to the dilute fluid. Hydrogen isotopic ratios of fluid inclusion waters extracted from eleven quartz samples of both vein types range from δDFI =–56 to –134‰, but show no particular correlation with vein type. In most respects, the mineralogical and fluid characteristics of the Mallery Lake system are comparable to those of Phanerozoic low-sulfidation deposits, and although the presence of high salinity brines is unusual in such deposits, it is not unknown (e.g., Creede, Colorado). In addition, one of the few other examples of well-preserved, Precambrian, low-sulfidation epithermal deposits, from the Central Pilbara tectonic zone, Australia, contains a similarly bimodal fluid assemblage. The significance of these saline brines is not clear, but from this study we infer that they were not directly involved with Au-Ag transport or deposition.

The Twin Peaks epithermal gold deposit, located in East Junggar, China, is hosted by the late Paleozoic Kulankazigan island-arc complex. The deposit is structurally controlled by the extensional radial fractures associated with development of the Early Carboniferous Twin Peaks volcanic dome. It is stratigraphically restricted to the upper Batamayineishan Formation, which is subdivided into two units: the lower andesite unit that contains the ore bodies, and the upper rhyolite unit. Four hydrothermal alteration zones have been identified in both East and West Zones of the deposit. Each zone is characterized by a highly silicified core, and then there is an outward progression through adularia–sericite, argillic, and propylitic zones. The presence of adularia and sericite, in addition to the sulfide mineral association, suggests that the gold deposit is of the "adularia-sericite" or "low sulfidation" type. The East Zone ore body is offset by post-mineralization, high-angle reverse faults that strike parallel to the zone and small-scale, strike-slip faults that strike perpendicular to the zone.