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Interpreting element addition and depletion at the Ann Mason porphyry-Cu deposit, Nevada, using mapped mass balance patterns

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-19, 22:07 authored by Ahmed, AD, Shawn Hood, Gazley, MF, David CookeDavid Cooke, Evan Orovan

Elemental mass changes were calculated for 154 samples from four rock types around the Ann Mason porphyry-Cu-(Mo-Au) deposit, Yerington district, Nevada. The purpose of these calculations was to investigate addition and depletion patterns in two-dimensional (2-D) map space. Mass changes in Ca, Mg, Na, P, Cu, Mo, As, Sb, Sr, and Pb from samples in the pre- to syn-mineralisation Yerington batholith vary systematically with lateral and vertical distance from the Ann Mason deposit. At the core of the Ann Mason deposit, Cu and Mo were strongly added (>10,000% relative to average protolith values), with restricted lateral mass addition halos around the deposit. Copper is depleted in wall rocks surrounding the deposit. Calcium and Sr were removed (up to 98% depletion) from parts of the deposit centre due to the destruction of calcic-plagioclase and other calcium-bearing minerals during potassic alteration. Calcium (up to 1570%) and Sr (up to 315%) were added outside the deposit and were concentrated around 4 km from the deposit centre where epidote alteration is most intense. Arsenic and Sb were removed from the deposit centre (up to 99% depletion) where silicate-mineral alteration assemblages dominate. Antimony shows an addition halo (ranging from 25% up to 1900%) that extends from the deposit centre 500 m laterally away, and correlates spatially with the increased abundance of pyrite that typically surrounds porphyry deposits. Epidote-altered samples of Shamrock monzonite from outside the Casting Copper skarn show addition of Ca (up to 196%), Sb (up to 1100%), and depletion of Na (up to -98%). Samples from the central part of the post-mineralisation Shamrock monzonite record lower mass changes in Mg, Ca, P, and Mo, compared to other parts of the batholith. Some samples from the northern contact of the Shamrock batholith exhibit addition of Ca (up to 554%), Sr (up to 504%), and depletion in Na (up to -98%). These samples are coincident with strong epidote alteration.

Our results provide a rock-normalised geochemical map that reflects quantified element addition and depletion patterns, which is useful for interrogating geological processes at a regional scale. Although interpreting relative element addition and depletion in map space is possible using conventional immobile element ratio approaches, mass balance calculations provide the benefit of quantified results.


Publication title

Journal of Geochemical Exploration








School of Natural Sciences


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

Rights statement

© 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Precious (noble) metal ore exploration; Mining and extraction of copper ores

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