Mineralium Deposita (v.48, #4)
Trace element distribution in uraninite from Mesoarchaean Witwatersrand conglomerates (South Africa) supports placer model and magmatogenic source by M. Depiné; H. E. Frimmel; P. Emsbo; A. E. Koenig; M. Kern (423-435).
The first systematic analyses of the trace and rare earth element (REE) distribution in uraninite from various gold-bearing conglomerates of the Mesoarchaean Central Rand Group in South Africa’s Witwatersrand Basin by in situ laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry confirms a placer origin for the uraninite and a magmatogenic provenance thereof. The chemistry of commonly rounded to sub-rounded uraninite is highly variable from grain to grain but generally marked by elevated Th, W, Bi, Mo, Ta, Y, REE contents and unusually high Au concentrations. Especially, the high Th contents and the chondrite-normalised REE patterns are incompatible with post-sedimentary hydrothermal genetic models for the U mineralisation and point to derivation of the detrital uraninite from a high-temperature, magmatogenic, presumably granitic to pegmatitic source. The elevated Au concentrations (of as much as 67 ppm) in this uraninite are unique to the Witwatersrand and hint at a granitic hinterland that was enriched in both U and Au, thus presenting a potential source domain for some of the detrital gold in the Witwatersrand conglomerates. Minute fracture fills of brannerite in close proximity to the larger, rounded uraninite grains are devoid of detectable Bi, Mo, REE and Au and have only very low concentrations of Th, W, Ta and Y. This is explicable by crystallisation from a low-temperature hydrothermal fluid. Thus, Witwatersrand U phases show, analogous to many other ore constituents, such as pyrite and gold, clear evidence of partial, short-range mobilisation of originally detrital particles by post-sedimentary fluids.
Keywords: Uraninite; Witwatersrand; Trace elements; Gold; Archaean atmosphere
Geochemical and mineralogical characteristics of ion-adsorption type REE mineralization in Phuket, Thailand by Kenzo Sanematsu; Yoshiaki Kon; Akira Imai; Koichiro Watanabe; Yasushi Watanabe (437-451).
Geochemical and mineralogical studies were conducted on the 12-m-thick weathering profile of the Kata Beach granite in Phuket, Thailand, in order to reveal the transport and adsorption of rare earth elements (REE) related to the ion-adsorption type mineralization. The parent rock is ilmenite-series biotite granite with transitional characteristics from I type to S type, abundant in REE (592 ppm). REE are contained dominantly in fluorocarbonate as well as in allanite, titanite, apatite, and zircon. The chondrite-normalized REE pattern of the parent granite indicates enrichment of LREE relative to HREE and no significant Ce anomaly. The upper part of the weathering profile from the surface to 4.5 m depth is mostly characterized by positive Ce anomaly, showing lower REE contents ranging from 174 to 548 ppm and lower percentages of adsorbed REE from 34% to 68% compared with the parent granite. In contrast, the lower part of the profile from 4.5 to 12 m depth is characterized by negative Ce anomaly, showing higher REE contents ranging from 578 to 1,084 ppm and higher percentages from 53% to 85%. The negative Ce anomaly and enrichment of REE in the lower part of the profile suggest that acidic soil water in an oxidizing condition in the upper part mostly immobilized Ce4+ as CeO2 and transported REE3+ downward to the lower part of the profile. The transported REE3+ were adsorbed onto weathering products or distributed to secondary minerals such as rhabdophane. The immobilization of REE results from the increase of pH due to the contact with higher pH groundwater. Since the majority of REE in the weathered granite are present in the ion-adsorption fraction with negative Ce anomaly, the percentages of adsorbed REE are positively correlated with the whole-rock negative Ce anomaly. The result of this study suggests that the ion-adsorption type REE mineralization is identified by the occurrence of easily soluble REE fluorocarbonate and whole-rock negative Ce anomaly of weathered granite. Although fractionation of REE in weathered granite is controlled by the occurrence of REE-bearing minerals and adsorption by weathering products, the ion-adsorption fraction tends to be enriched in LREE relative to weathered granite.
Keywords: REE mineralization; Granite; Weathering; Ion-adsorption type; Ce anomaly; Phuket; Thailand
Orogenic gold mineralisation hosted by Archaean basement rocks at Sortekap, Kangerlussuaq area, East Greenland by D. A. Holwell; G. R. T. Jenkin; K. G. Butterworth; T. Abraham-James; A. J. Boyce (453-466).
A gold-bearing quartz vein system has been identified in Archaean basement rocks at Sortekap in the Kangerlussuaq region of east Greenland, 35 km north–northeast of the Skaergaard Intrusion. This constitutes the first recorded occurrence of Au mineralisation in the metamorphic basement rocks of east Greenland. The mineralisation can be classified as orogenic style, quartz vein-hosted Au mineralisation. Two vein types have been identified based on their alteration styles and the presence of Au mineralisation. Mineralised type 1 veins occur within sheared supracrustal units and are hosted by garnet-bearing amphibolites, with associated felsic and ultramafic intrusions. Gold is present as native Au and Au-rich electrum together with arsenopyrite and minor pyrite and chalcopyrite in thin alteration selvages in the immediate wall rocks. The alteration assemblage of actinolite-clinozoisite-muscovite-titanite-scheelite-arsenopyrite-pyrite is considered to be a greenschist facies assemblage. The timing of mineralisation is therefore interpreted as being later and separate event to the peak amphibolite facies metamorphism of the host rocks. Type 2 quartz veins are barren of mineralisation, lack significant alteration of the wall rocks and are considered to be later stage. Fluid inclusion microthermometry of the quartz reveals three separate fluids, including a high temperature (T h = 300–350 °C), H2O–CO2–CH4 fluid present only in type 1 veins that in interpreted to be responsible for the main stage of Au deposition and sulphidic wall rock alteration. It is likely that the carbonic fluids were actually trapped at temperatures closer to 400 °C. Two other fluids were identified within both vein types, which comprise low temperature (100–200 °C) brines, with salinities of 13–25 wt% eq. NaCl and at least one generation of low salinity aqueous fluids. The sources and timings of the secondary fluids are currently equivocal but they may be related to the emplacement of Paleogene mafic intrusions. The identification of this occurrence of orogenic-style Au mineralisation has implications for exploration in the underexplored area of east Greenland between 62 and 69° N, where other, similar supracrustal units are known to be present.
Keywords: Orogenic gold; Sortekap; Kangerlussuaq; Greenland; Fluid inclusions
Structural genesis of the Eunsan and Moisan low-sulphidation epithermal Au–Ag deposits, Seongsan district, Southwest Korea by Seok-Jun Yang; Paul Duuring; Young-Seog Kim (467-483).
The Seongsan district in the Jindo–Haenam basin of southwest Korea comprises Precambrian gneissic basement, overlain and intruded by Cretaceous volcanic (98–71 Ma) and plutonic (86–68 Ma) rocks, respectively. Haenam Formation volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks are the dominant rock type exposed in the district and are the main host to high-sulphidation (82–77 Ma) and low-sulphidation (79–73 Ma) epithermal deposits. The Eunsan and Moisan low-sulphidation epithermal deposits have similar vein mineralogy, zoned hydrothermal alteration mineral assemblages, structural framework and interpreted deformation events. These similarities suggest that they formed by district-scale hydrothermal fluid flow at about 77.5 Ma. At this time, ore fluid movement along subvertical WNW-trending faults was particularly focussed in dilatant fault bends, jogs, and at intersections with N-trending splays. At Eunsan, Au–Ag ore shoots coincide with these areas of structural complexity, whereas at Moisan, narrower ore zones correspond with several parallel, poorly connected veins. A secondary control on the location of ore zones is the intersection between mineralised WNW-striking structures and rocks of the Haenam Formation. The higher permeability and porosity of these rocks, in comparison with mudstones and siltstones of the underlying Uhangri Formation, resulted in the more efficient lateral migration of ore fluids away from subvertical faults and into wall rocks. The intersection between subvertical WNW-striking faults and the gently dipping Haenam Formation imparts a low angle SW plunge to both ore bodies. WNW-striking post-mineralisation faults displace ore zones up to 100 m and complicate the along-strike exploration and mining of WNW-trending ore zones. Future exploration strategies in the district involve the systematic testing of WNW-trending mineralised structures along strike from known deposits, with a particular emphasis on identifying structurally complex areas that experienced local dilation during the mineralisation event. Poorly exposed regions have historically been under-explored. However, based on the proposed exploration model for the Eunsan and Moisan deposits, these areas of poor outcrop are now considered important target areas for hidden ore bodies using ground-based geophysical exploration tools, such as seismic surveys.
Keywords: Eunsan; Moisan; Chunsan; Epithermal; Gold; Silver
The Boliden gold-rich volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit, Skellefte district, Sweden: new U–Pb age constraints and implications at deposit and district scale by Patrick Mercier-Langevin; Vicky McNicoll; Rodney L. Allen; James H. S. Blight; Benoît Dubé (485-504).
The Boliden deposit (8.3 Mt at 15.9 g/t Au) is interpreted to have been formed between ca. 1894 and 1891 Ma, based on two new U–Pb ID-TIMS ages: a maximum age of 1893.9 + 2.0/−1.9 Ma obtained from an altered quartz and feldspar porphyritic rhyolite in the deposit footwall in the volcanic Skellefte group and a minimum age of 1890.8 ± 1 Ma obtained from a felsic mass-flow deposit in the lowermost part of the volcano-sedimentary Vargfors group, which forms the stratigraphic hanging wall to the deposit. These ages are in agreement with the alteration and mineralization being formed at or near the sea floor in the volcanogenic massive sulfide environment. These two ages and the geologic relationships imply that: (1) volcanism and hydrothermal activity in the Skellefte group were initiated earlier than 1.89 Ga which was previously considered to be the onset of volcanism in the Skellefte group; (2) the volcano-sedimentary succession of the Vargfors group is perhaps as old as 1892 Ma in the eastern part of the Skellefte district; and (3) an early (synvolcanic) deformation event in the Skellefte group is evidenced by the unconformity between the ≤1893.9 + 2.0/−1.9 Ma Skellefte group upper volcanic rocks and the ≤1890.8 ± 1 Ma Vargfors sedimentary and volcanic rocks in the Boliden domain. Differential block tilting, uplift, and subsidence controlled by synvolcanic faults in an extensional environment is likely, perhaps explaining some hybrid VMS-epithermal characteristics shown by the VMS deposits of the district.
Keywords: Boliden; Gold-rich VMS; Skellefte; Geochronology; Paleoproterozoic
Timing of the Yuchiling giant porphyry Mo system, and implications for ore genesis by Nuo Li; Yan-Jing Chen; Franco Pirajno; Zhi-yong Ni (505-524).
The Yuchiling Mo deposit is a recently discovered giant porphyry system in the East Qinling Mo belt, China. Its apparent causative intrusion, i.e., the Yuchiling granite porphyry, is the youngest intrusion (phase 4) of the Heyu multiphase granite batholith, which was emplaced between 143 and 135 Ma. New robust constraints on the formation of the Yuchiling porphyry Mo system are provided by combined zircon U–Pb, biotite 40Ar/39Ar, and molybdenite Re–Os dating. Zircon grains from the Mo-mineralized granite porphyry yield weighted 206Pb/238U age of 134.0 ± 1.4 Ma (n = 19, 2σ error, MSWD = 0.30). Magmatic biotite from the same sample yield a 40Ar/39Ar plateau age of 135.1 ± 1.4 Ma (2σ error), and an inverse isochron age of 135.6 ± 2.0 Ma (n = 7, 2σ error, MSWD = 10.8), which are effectively coincident with the zircon U–Pb age within analytical error. Three pulses of mineralization can be deduced from the molybdenite Re–Os ages, namely: ∼141, ∼137, and ∼134 Ma, which agree well with the zircon U–Pb ages of granitic phases 1, 2, and the Yuchiling porphyry (phase 4), respectively. These well-constrained temporal correlations indicate that Mo mineralization was caused by pulses of granitic magmatism, and that the ore-forming magmatic-hydrothermal activity responsible for the Yuchiling porphyry Mo system lasted about 8 Ma. The Yuchiling Mo deposit represents a unique style of porphyry Mo system formed in a post-collision setting, and associated with F-rich, high-K calc-alkaline intrusions, which differ from convergent margin-associated porphyry Mo deposits.
Keywords: Zircon U-Pb age; Biotite 40Ar/39Ar age; Molybdenite Re-Os age; Yuchiling porphyry Mo deposit; East Qinling; China
Formation of weathering-derived magnesite deposits in the New England Orogen, New South Wales, Australia: Implications from mineralogy, geochemistry and genesis of the Attunga magnesite deposit by Hans C. Oskierski; Judy G. Bailey; Eric M. Kennedy; Geraldine Jacobsen; Paul M. Ashley; Bogdan Z. Dlugogorski (525-541).
Nodular, cryptocrystalline, weathering-derived magnesite deposits in the New England Orogen, Australia, provide a significant source of high-purity magnesite. Common textural features and related isotopic fingerprints indicate a close genetic relationship between weathering-derived magnesite deposits hosted by ultramafic rocks at Attunga and by sediments at Kunwarara while silica-carbonate rock alteration and rare hydrothermal magnesite vein deposits reflect contrasting conditions of formation. Localised weathering of carbonates in a soil environment shifts stable isotopic composition towards low δ 13C and high δ 18O typical for weathering-derived magnesites while intrusion-related fluids do not significantly change the isotopic composition of affected carbonates. At Attunga, magnesite consists of irregular, nodular veins and masses filling faults and cracks in the weathered serpentinite host rock as well as soft powdery magnesite in pervasive serpentinite alteration zones. The high-grade magnesite at Attunga can be contaminated by amorphous silica and serpentine relicts but does not contain dolomite or ferroan magnesite as observed for its hydrothermal equivalent, the Piedmont magnesite deposit, or other widespread deposits of silica-carbonate rock in the Great Serpentinite Belt. Heavy δ 18O values are compatible with a supergene formation from meteoric waters while low δ 13C suggests C3-photosynthetic plants as the predominant source of carbon for the Attunga magnesites. We infer that weathering-derived, nodular magnesite deposits hosted in ultramafic rocks like the Attunga magnesite deposit have formed in a two-step process involving the hypogene formation of a pre-cursor magnesite deposit and complete supergene overprinting by meteoric waters that acquired carbon from percolation through soil.
Keywords: Nodular magnesite; New England Orogen; Serpentinite; Weathering; Mineral sequestration; Sources of CO2
Franco Pirajno: The geology and tectonic settings of China’s mineral deposits by Richard J. Goldfarb (543-544).