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Different mineralization styles in a volcanic-hosted ore deposit: the fluid and isotopic signatures of the Mt Morgan Au‚Äö-Cu deposit, Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-25, 22:27 authored by Ulrich, T, Golding, SD, Kamber, BS, Khin ZawKhin Zaw, Taube, A
Quantitative laser ablation (LA)-ICP-MS analyses of fluid inclusions, trace element chemistry of sulfides, stable isotope (S), and Pb isotopes have been used to discriminate the formation of two contrasting mineralization styles and to evaluate the origin of the Cu and Au at Mt Morgan. The Mt Morgan Au‚Äö-Cu deposit is hosted by Devonian felsic volcanic rocks that have been intruded by multiple phases of the Mt Morgan Tonalite, a low-K, low-Al2O3 tonalite‚Äö-trondhjemite‚Äö-dacite (TTD) complex. An early, barren massive sulfide mineralization with stringer veins is conforming to VHMS sub-seafloor replacement processes, whereas the high-grade Au‚Äö-Cu ore is associated with a later quartz‚Äö-chalcopyrite‚Äö-pyrite stockwork mineralization that is related to intrusive phases of the Tonalite complex. LA-ICP-MS fluid inclusion analyses reveal high As (avg. 8850 ppm) and Sb (avg. 140 ppm) for the Au‚Äö-Cu mineralization and 5 to 10 times higher Cu concentration than in the fluids associated with the massive pyrite mineralization. Overall, the hydrothermal system of Mt Morgan is characterized by low average fluid salinities in both mineralization styles (45‚Äö-80% seawater salinity) and temperatures of 210 to 270 degrees C estimated from fluid inclusions. Laser Raman Spectroscopic analysis indicates a consistent and uniform array of CO2-bearing fluids. Comparison with active submarine hydrothermal vents shows an enrichment of the Mt Morgan fluids in base metals. Therefore, a seawater-dominated fluid is assumed for the barren massive sulfide mineralization, whereas magmatic volatile contributions are implied for the intrusive related mineralization. Condensation of magmatic vapor into a seawater-dominated environment explains the CO2 occurrence, the low salinities, and the enriched base and precious metal fluid composition that is associated with the Au‚Äö-Cu mineralization. The sulfur isotope signature of pyrite and chalcopyrite is composed of fractionated Devonian seawater and oxidized magmatic fluids or remobilized sulfur from existing sulfides. Pb isotopes indicate that Au and Cu originated from the Mt Morgan intrusions and a particular volcanic strata that shows elevated Cu background.


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Ore Geology Reviews



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