University Of Tasmania
155242 - Hyperspectral cathodoluminescence, trace element, and U Pb.pdf (11.35 MB)
Download file

Hyperspectral cathodoluminescence, trace element, and U-Pb geochronological characterization of apatite from the Ernest Henry iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposit, Cloncurry district, Queensland

Download (11.35 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 16:17 authored by Jeffrey SteadmanJeffrey Steadman, Karsten GoemannKarsten Goemann, Thompson, JM, MacRae, CM, Ivan BelousovIvan Belousov, Max HohlMax Hohl
Hyperspectral cathodoluminescence (CL), geochemical, and geochronological characterization of a series of apatite-bearing samples from within and around the Ernest Henry IOCG deposit, NW Queensland, Australia, have revealed complex mineral parageneses and a spectrum of U-Pb ages that point to the effects of multiple geological processes. No two samples are identical, either in geochemistry or texture, despite their relative proximity to one another (all samples within 5 km from Ernest Henry). Hyperspectral CL maps reveal diverse internal textures and emissions ranging from near infrared (NIR) to near ultraviolet (UV) with a complex series of spectra in all samples, requiring the fitting more than 40 individual peaks (both sharp and broad) to capture the observed variability. Imaging analyses via LA-ICPMS show that apatite from the Ernest Henry district is enriched above background in a variety of trace elements, including Na, Mg, Al, Si, V, Mn, As, Sr, Y, the rare Earth elements (REEs), Pb, Th, and U. Samples outside the ore zone display chondrite-normalized REE profiles that are consistent with either a magmatic or hydrothermal origin, whereas ore zone apatite exhibits profiles that are decidedly hydrothermal in nature. Moreover, specific zones within ore zone apatite grains are very As-rich (up to 7 wt% As2O5), and the effect of such high As on the hyperspectral CL signature of these zones is a pronounced dampening of CL emission, regardless of REE concentrations. Uranium-Pb dating of the same samples (via LA-ICPMS) has yielded a diverse array of overlapping Mesoproterozoic ages ranging from 1,580 ± 34 Ma to 1,533 ± 61 Ma. These results correlate to published ages that constrain hydrothermal alteration in the Ernest Henry area, both before and during Cu-Au mineralization. Collectively, these data highlight the complexity of apatite studies at Ernest Henry, the broader Cloncurry district, and probably analogous terranes elsewhere. A combination of micro-scale methods such as those used in this study are shown to be essential for accurately deciphering geological information contained within petrogenetic indicator minerals.


Publication title

Frontiers in Earth Science



Article number









School of Natural Sciences


Frontiers Research Foundation

Place of publication


Rights statement

© 2022 Steadman, Goemann, Thompson, MacRae, Belousov and Hohl. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Copper ore exploration; Precious (noble) metal ore exploration; Mineral exploration not elsewhere classified

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania