Mineralium Deposita (v.47, #6)
Multiple Mesozoic mineralization events in South China—an introduction to the thematic issue by Rui-Zhong Hu; Mei-Fu Zhou (579-588).
Mesozoic mineral deposits in South China include world-class deposits of W, Sn and Sb and those that provide the major sources of Ta, Cu, Hg, As, Tl, Pb, Zn, Au and Ag for the entire country. These deposits can be classified into polymetallic hydrothermal systems closely related to felsic intrusive rocks (Sn–W –Mo granites, Cu porphyries, polymetallic and Fe skarns, and polymetallic vein deposits) and low-temperature hydrothermal systems with no direct connection to igneous activities (MVT deposits, epithermal Au and Sb deposits). Recent studies have shown that they formed in the Triassic (Indosinian), Jurassic–Cretaceous (Early Yanshanian), and Cretaceous (Late Yanshanian) stages. Indosinian deposits include major MVT (Pb–Zn–Ag) deposits and granite-related W–Sn deposits. Early Yanshanian deposits are low-temperature Sb–Au and high-temperature W–Sn and Cu porphyry types. Many Late Yanshanian deposits are low-temperature Au–As–Sb–Hg and U deposits, and also include high-temperature W–Sn polymetallic deposits. The formation of these deposits is linked with a specific tectonothermal evolution and igneous activities. This special issue brings together some of the latest information in eight papers that deal with the origins and tectonic environments of mineral deposits formed in these stages. We anticipate that this issue will stimulate more interests in these ore deposits in South China.
Keywords: South China; Mesozoic; Metallogenesis
Infrared microthermometric and stable isotopic study of fluid inclusions in wolframite at the Xihuashan tungsten deposit, Jiangxi province, China by Wenfeng Wei; Ruizhong Hu; Xianwu Bi; Jiantang Peng; Wenchao Su; Shengqiong Song; Shaohua Shi (589-605).
The Xihuashan tungsten deposit, Jiangxi province, China, is a world-class vein-type ore deposit hosted in Cambrian strata and Mesozoic granitic intrusions. There are two major sets of subparallel ore-bearing quartz veins. The ore mineral assemblage includes wolframite and molybdenite, with minor amounts of arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, and pyrite. There are only two-phase aqueous-rich inclusions in wolframite but at least three major types of inclusions in quartz: two- or three-phase CO2-rich inclusions, two-phase pure CO2 inclusions and two-phase aqueous inclusions, indicating boiling. Fluid inclusions in wolframite have relatively higher homogenization temperatures and salinities (239–380°C, 3.8–13.7 wt.% NaCl equiv) compared with those in quartz (177–329°C, 0.9–8.1 wt.% NaCl equiv). These distinct differences suggest that those conventional microthermometric data from quartz are not adequate to explain the ore formation process. Enthalpy–salinity plot shows a linear relationship, implying mixing of different sources of fluids. Although boiling occurred during vein-type mineralization, it seems negligible for wolframite deposition. Mixing is the dominant mechanism of wolframite precipitation in Xihuashan. δ34S values of the sulfides range from −1.6 to +0.1‰, indicative of a magmatic source of sulfur. δ18O values of wolframite are relatively homogeneous, ranging from +4.8‰ to +6.3‰. Oxygen isotope modeling of boiling and mixing processes also indicates that mixing of two different fluids was an important mechanism in the precipitation of wolframite.
Keywords: Infrared microthermometry; Fluid inclusions; Tungsten deposit; Stable isotopes; Xihuashan; China
Molybdenite Re–Os and muscovite 40Ar/39Ar dating of quartz vein-type W–Sn polymetallic deposits in Northern Guangdong, South China by Hua-Wen Qi; Rui-Zhong Hu; Xiao-Fei Wang; Wen-Jun Qu; Xian-Wu Bi; Jian-Tang Peng (607-622).
Northern Guangdong is an important part of Nanling tungsten–tin metallogenic belt, South China. The tungsten mineralization in this area consists of mainly quartz–wolframite vein-type mineralization, with W–Sn polymetallic deposits mostly distributed at the outer contact zone between concealed Late Jurassic granitic stocks and Cambrian–Ordovician low-metamorphosed sandstones and shales. Molybdenite Re–Os and muscovite 40Ar/39Ar isotopic dating of three typical tungsten vein-type deposits (Yaoling, Meiziwo, and Jubankeng) in northern Guangdong, show that two episodes of Late Jurassic W–Sn polymetallic mineralization occurred in this area: an early episode during the Late Jurassic (158–159 Ma) represented by the Yaoling, Hongling, and Meiziwo tungsten deposits, and a younger event during the Early Cretaceous (138 Ma) represented by the Jubankeng deposit. Analysis of available radiometric ages of several W–Sn deposits in the Nanling region indicate that these deposits formed at several intervals during the Mesozoic at 90–100, 134–140, 144–162, and 210–235 Ma, and that large-scale W–Sn mineralization in this region occurred mainly between 150 and 160 Ma.
Keywords: Tungsten–tin deposits; Re–Os molybdenite dating; 40Ar/39Ar muscovite dating; Northern Guangdong; China
Mantle-derived noble gases in ore-forming fluids of the granite-related Yaogangxian tungsten deposit, Southeastern China by Rui-Zhong Hu; Xian-Wu Bi; Guo-Hao Jiang; Hong-Wei Chen; Jian-Tang Peng; You-Qiang Qi; Li-Yan Wu; Wen-Feng Wei (623-632).
More than 90% of the tungsten resources of China are in the Nanling region of South China, and the Yaogangxian vein deposit is the largest tungsten deposit in this region. The tungsten deposits have ages of 150–160 Ma, and are spatially, temporally and genetically related to granites which were previously believed to be produced by crustal anatexis. This paper provides He and Ar isotope data of fluid inclusions in pyrite and arsenopyrite from the Yaogangxian W veins. 3He/4He ratios range from 0.41 to 3.03 Ra (where Ra is the 3He/4He ratio of air = 1.39 × 10−6), and 40Ar/36Ar ratios from 328 to 1,191. Moreover, there are excellent correlations between He and Ar isotopic compositions. The results suggest that the ore-forming fluids are a mixture between a crustal fluid containing atmospheric Ar and crustal 4He and a fluid containing mantle components. It is likely that the former is a low temperature meteoric fluid, and the later is a fluid exsolved from the W-associated granitic magma, which formed by crustal melting induced by intrusion of a mantle-derived magma.
Keywords: He and Ar isotopes; Ore-forming fluids; Tungsten deposit, granite; Mantle fluids; Nanling; China
Zircon U–Pb and phlogopite 40Ar–39Ar age of the Chengchao and Jinshandian skarn Fe deposits, southeast Hubei Province, Middle–Lower Yangtze River Valley metallogenic belt, China by Guiqing Xie; Jingwen Mao; Haijie Zhao; Chao Duan; Lei Yao (633-652).
The Chengchao and Jinshandian deposits in the southeast Hubei Province are the two largest skarn Fe deposits in the Middle–Lower Yangtze River Valley metallogenic belt (MLYRVMB), China. They are characterized by NW-striking orebodies that are developed along the contacts between the Late Mesozoic granitoid and Triassic carbonate and clastic rocks. New sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry zircon U–Pb dating of the mineralization-related quartz diorite and granite at Chengchao yield ages of 129 ± 2 and 127 ± 2 Ma, respectively, and those at Jinshandian of 127 ± 2 and 133 ± 1 Ma, respectively. These results are interpreted as the crystallization age of these intrusions. Hydrothermal phlogopite samples from the skarn ores at Chengchao and Jinshandian have the plateau 40Ar–39Ar ages of 132.6 ± 1.4 and 131.6 ± 1.2 Ma, respectively. These results confirm that both intrusions and associated skarn Fe mineralization were formed contemporaneously in the middle Early Cretaceous time. New zircon U–Pb and phlogopite 40Ar–39Ar ages in this study, when combined with available precise geochronological data, demonstrate that there were two discontinuous igneous events, corresponding to two episodes of skarn Fe-bearing mineralization in the southeast Hubei Province: (1) 140–136 Ma diorites and quartz diorites and 141–137 Ma skarn Cu–Fe or Fe–Cu deposits and (2) 133–127 Ma quartz diorites and granites and 133–132 Ma skarn Fe deposits. This scenario is similar to that proposed for the entire MLYRVMB. The intrusions related to skarn Fe deposits show obviously petrological and geochemical differences from those related to skarn Cu–Fe or Fe–Cu deposits. The former are quartz diorite and diorite in petrology and have similar adakitic geochemical signatures and in equilibrium with a garnet-rich residue, whereas the latter are petrologically granite and quartz diorite that are distinguishable from adakitic rocks and in equilibrium with a plagioclase residue. These features indicated that two episodes of magmatism and the formation of skarn Fe-bearing deposits in the southeast Hubei Province, MLYRVMB, might be associated lithosphere thinning induced by asthenosphere upwelling during the Late Mesozoic.
Keywords: Skarn Fe deposit; Phlogopite 40Ar–39Ar; Zircon U–Pb; Lithospheric thinning; Middle–Lower Yangtze River Valley metallogenic belt; China
Mineralogy and geochemistry of gold-bearing arsenian pyrite from the Shuiyindong Carlin-type gold deposit, Guizhou, China: implications for gold depositional processes by Wenchao Su; Hongtao Zhang; Ruizhong Hu; Xi Ge; Bin Xia; Yanyan Chen; Chen Zhu (653-662).
Arsenian pyrite in the Shuiyindong Carlin-type gold deposit in Guizhou, China, is the major host for gold with 300 to 4,000 ppm Au and 0.65 to 14.1 wt.% As. Electron miroprobe data show a negative correlation of As and S in arsenian pyrite, which is consistent with the substitution of As for S in the pyrite structure. The relatively homogeneous distribution of gold in arsenian pyrite and a positive correlation of As and Au, with Au/As ratios below the solubility limit of gold in arsenian pyrite, suggest that invisible gold is likely present as Au1+ in a structurally bound Au complex in arsenian pyrite. Geochemical modeling using the laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analysis of fluid inclusions for the major ore forming stage shows that the dominant Au species were Au(HS) 2 − (77%) and AuHS (aq) 0 (23%). Gold-hydroxyl and Gold-chloride complexes were negligible. The ore fluid was undersaturated with respect to native Au, with a saturation index of −3.8. The predominant As species was H3AsO 3 0 (aq). Pyrite in the Shuiyindong deposit shows chemical zonation with rims richer in As and Au than cores, reflecting the chemical evolution of the ore-bearing fluids. The early ore fluids had relatively high activities of As and Au, to deposit unzoned and zoned arsenian pyrite that host most gold in the deposit. The ore fluids then became depleted in Au and As and formed As-poor pyrite overgrowth rims on gold-bearing arsenian pyrite. Arsenopyrite overgrowth aggregates on arsenian pyrite indicate a late fluid with relatively high activity of As. The lack of evidence of boiling and the low iron content of fluid inclusions in quartz, suggest that iron in arsenian pyrite was most likely derived from dissolution of ferroan minerals in the host rocks, with sulfidation of the dissolved iron by H2S-rich ore fluids being the most important mechanism of gold deposition in the Shuiyindong Carlin-type deposit.
Keywords: Gold; Arsenian pyrite; Carlin-type; Shuiyindong; Guizhou; China
Hydrocarbon- and ore-bearing basinal fluids: a possible link between gold mineralization and hydrocarbon accumulation in the Youjiang basin, South China by X. X. Gu; Y. M. Zhang; B. H. Li; S. Y. Dong; C. J. Xue; S. H. Fu (663-682).
The Youjiang basin, which flanks the southwest edge of the Yangtze craton in South China, contains many Carlin-type gold deposits and abundant paleo-oil reservoirs. The gold deposits and paleo-oil reservoirs are restricted to the same tectonic units, commonly at the basinal margins and within the intrabasinal isolated platforms and/or bioherms. The gold deposits are hosted by Permian to Triassic carbonate and siliciclastic rocks that typically contain high contents of organic carbon. Paragenetic relationships indicate that most of the deposits exhibit an early stage of barren quartz ± pyrite (stage I), a main stage of auriferous quartz + arsenian pyrite + arsenopyrite + marcasite (stage II), and a late stage of quartz + calcite + realgar ± orpiment ± native arsenic ± stibnite ± cinnabar ± dolomite (stage III). Bitumen in the gold deposits is commonly present as a migrated hydrocarbon product in mineralized host rocks, particularly close to high grade ores, but is absent in barren sedimentary rocks. Bitumen dispersed in the mineralized rocks is closely associated and/or intergrown with the main stage jasperoidal quartz, arsenian pyrite, and arsenopyrite. Bitumen occurring in hydrothermal veins and veinlets is paragenetically associated with stages II and III mineral assemblages. These observations suggest an intimate relationship between bitumen precipitation and gold mineralization. In the paleo-petroleum reservoirs that typically occur in Permian reef limestones, bitumen is most commonly observed in open spaces, either alone or associated with calcite. Where bitumen occurs with calcite, it is typically concentrated along pore/vein centers as well as along the wall of pores and fractures, indicating approximately coeval precipitation. In the gold deposits, aqueous fluid inclusions are dominant in the early stage barren quartz veins (stage I), with a homogenization temperature range typically of 230°C to 270°C and a salinity range of 2.6 to 7.2 wt% NaCl eq. Fluid inclusions in the main and late-stage quartz and calcite are dominated by aqueous inclusions as well as hydrocarbon- and CO2-rich inclusions. The presence of abundant hydrocarbon fluid inclusions in the gold deposits provides evidence that at least during main periods of the hydrothermal activity responsible for gold mineralization, the ore fluids consisted of an aqueous solution and an immiscible hydrocarbon phase. Aqueous inclusions in the main stage quartz associated with gold mineralization (stage II) typically have a homogenization temperature range of 200–230°C and a modal salinity around 5.3 wt% NaCl eq. Homogenization temperatures and salinities of aqueous inclusions in the late-stage drusy quartz and calcite (stage III) typically range from 120°C to 160°C and from 2.0 to 5.6 wt% NaCl eq., respectively. In the paleo-oil reservoirs, aqueous fluid inclusions with an average homogenization temperature of 80°C are dominant in early diagenetic calcite. Fluid inclusions in late diagenetic pore- and fissure-filling calcite associated with bitumen are dominated by liquid C2H6, vapor CH4, CH4–H2O, and aqueous inclusions, with a typical homogenization temperature range of 90°C to 180°C and a salinity range of 2–8 wt% NaCl eq. It is suggested that the hydrocarbons may have been trapped at relatively low temperatures, while the formation of gold deposits could have occurred under a wider and higher range of temperatures. The timing of gold mineralization in the Youjiang basin is still in dispute and a wide range of ages has been reported for individual deposits. Among the limited isotopic data, the Rb–Sr date of 206 ± 12 Ma for Au-bearing hydrothermal sericite at Jinya as well as the Re–Os date of 193 ± 13 Ma on auriferous arsenian pyrite and 40Ar/39Ar date of 194.6 ± 2 Ma on vein-filling sericite at Lannigou may provide the most reliable age constraints on gold mineralization. This age range is comparable with the estimated petroleum charging age range of 238–185 Ma and the Sm–Nd date of 182 ± 21 Ma for the pore- and fissure-filling calcite associated with bitumen at the Shitouzhai paleo-oil reservoir, corresponding to the late Indosinian to early Yanshanian orogenies in South China. The close association of Carlin-type gold deposits and paleo-oil reservoirs, the paragenetic coexistence of bitumens with ore-stage minerals, the presence of abundant hydrocarbons in the ore fluids, and the temporal coincidence of gold mineralization and hydrocarbon accumulation all support a coeval model in which the gold originated, migrated, and precipitated along with the hydrocarbons in an immiscible, gold- and hydrocarbon-bearing, basinal fluid system.
Keywords: Gold mineralization; Hydrocarbon accumulation; Carlin-type gold deposit; Paleo-oil reservoir; Basinal fluid; Youjiang basin; China
The Niujiaotang Cd-rich zinc deposit, Duyun, Guizhou province, southwest China: ore genesis and mechanisms of cadmium concentration by Lin Ye; Nigel J. Cook; Tiegeng Liu; Cristiana L. Ciobanu; Wei Gao; Yulong Yang (683-700).
The Niujiaotang zinc deposit in southeastern Guizhou, China, is a Mississippi Valley-type Zn deposit within Early Cambrian carbonate rocks. Sphalerite is enriched in cadmium (average 1.4 wt.% Cd), which occurs mostly as isomorphous impurities in the sphalerite lattice. Discrete cadmium minerals (greenockite and otavite) are rare and are found almost exclusively in the oxidation zone of the deposit, probably formed as secondary minerals during weathering–leaching processes. Geochemical data show that the sulfides are enriched in heavy sulfur, with δ34S ranging from +10.0‰ to +32.8‰ (mean +22.5‰). The consistent Pb isotopic compositions in different sulfide minerals are similar to that of Cambrian strata. The ore lead probably came from U- and Th-rich upper crustal rocks, such as the Lower Cambrian Wuxun Formation. The ore fluid is of low-temperature (101°C to 142°C) type, with a Na–Ca–Mg–Cl-dominant composition, and is interpreted as oil-field brine. The data indicate that the metals were mainly derived from the Early Cambrian strata (Qingxudong and Wuxun Formations), whereas sulfur is sourced from sulfate in Cambrian strata or oil-field brines of the Majiang petroleum paleoreservoir. The genetic model for the deposit invokes an Early Cambrian shallow-sea environment on the Yangtze Platform. Zinc and Cd in seawater were concentrated in abundant algae via unknown biological mechanisms, resulting in large amounts of Zn- and Cd-rich algal ooliths. During the Ordovician, concurrent with destruction of the Majiang petroleum paleoreservoir, oil-field brines migrated from the center of the basin to the margin leaching metals from the Cambrian strata. In the Niujiaotang area, preexisting Zn and Cd, particularly in the Qingxudong and Wuxun Formation, were further mobilized by hot brines rising along the Zaolou fault system, forming stratiform and generally conformable Zn–Cd orebodies in reactive carbonate lithologies.
Keywords: Sphalerite; Cadmium; Niujiaotang; China
Geology and vein tin mineralization in the Dadoushan deposit, Gejiu district, SW China by Yanbo Cheng; Jingwen Mao; Zongxi Yang (701-712).
Vein-type tin mineralization in the Dadoushan deposit, Laochang ore field, Gejiu district, SW China, is predominantly hosted in Triassic carbonate rocks (Gejiu Formation) over cupolas of the unexposed Laochang equigranular granite intrusion. The most common vein mineral is tourmaline, accompanied by skarn minerals (garnet, diopside, epidote, phlogopite) and beryl. The main ore mineral is cassiterite, accompanied by minor chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, and pyrite, as well as scheelite. The tin ore grade varies with depth, with the highest grades (~1.2 % Sn) prevalent in the lower part of the vein zone. Muscovite 40Ar–39Ar dating yielded a plateau age of 82.7 ± 0.7 Ma which defines the age of the vein-type mineralization. Measured sulfur isotope compositions (δ 34S = −4.1 to 3.9 ‰) of the sulfides (arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, pyrite, and pyrrhotite) indicate that the sulfur in veins is mainly derived from a magmatic source. The sulfur isotope values of the ores are consistent with those from the underlying granite (Laochang equigranular granite, −3.7 to 0.1 ‰) but are different from the carbonate wall rocks of the Gejiu Formation (7.1 to 11.1 ‰). The calculated and measured oxygen and hydrogen isotope compositions of the ore-forming fluids (δ 18OH2O = −2.4 to 5.5 ‰, δD = −86 to −77 ‰) suggest an initially magmatic fluid which gradually evolved towards meteoric water during tin mineralization.
Keywords: Tin deposits; Dadoushan; Gejiu; China