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Associated magma-related

hydrothermal ore deposits:


Skarns
Epithermal

Much of the epithermal material presented here was recently presented by Stuart
Simmons at a short course at JCU, used with permission; see Simmons et al., 2005 (
Economic Geology 100th Ann. Volume) stuart@hotsolutions.co.nz
Magmatic-Hydrothermal System
• Spatial relationship between deposits & magmas
High sulphidation
epithermal deposit
Low sulphidation
epithermal deposit

Argillic
alteration
Propylitic
alteration
Phyllic
alteration Propylitic
Intrusive alteration
Breccia
Volcanic Breccia
Rocks
Porphyry Cu deposit

Potassic
alteration
Metasedimentary
Basement Limestone

~1 km
Skarn & manto deposit
Felsic intrusion
EPITHERMAL DEPOSITS: KEY CHARACTERISTICS

• Shallow deposits (< 1.5km)

• Form above and around porphyry copper deposits from mixed meteoric
and magmatic fluids

• Also form on and below the flanks of active volcanos

• Fluids <150 to 300°C

• Ore precipitates from fluid cooling, boiling, and reaction with wall rock

• Generally ores of gold and silver and sometimes lead and zinc

• Highly acidic fluids cause argillic alteration (turns the rock to mostly clay
minerals). Today argillic alteration occurs around fumaroles on the flanks of
volcanos making for big landslide hazards.

• Studied modern analogues include geothermal fields of New Zealand


EPITHERMAL DEPOSITS: GLOBAL SETTING

LS HS
EPITHERMAL DEPOSITS: SIZE

100
Grade (g/tonne)

10

0.1 1 10 100 1000


Tonnage (Mt) (from Hedenquist et al., 2000)
Ba-Baguio, Bo-Boliden, CC-Cripple Creek, Ch-chinkuashih, Em-Emperor, Go-Goldfield, Hi-Hishikari, Ke-Kelian, La-Ladolam,
Lh-Lahoca, Le-Lepanto, Mc-McLaughlin, Mi-Midas, Mu-Mulatos, Na-Nansatsu, Pa-Pasua, Pi-Pierina, Po-Porgera,
PP-Paradise Peak, PV-Pueblo Viejo, Ro=-Rodalquilar, RM-Round Mountain, Sl-Sleeper, Su-Summitville, Ta-Tambo, Ve-Veladero,
Wa-Waihi, Ya-Yanacocha
EPITHERMAL: STYLE COMPARISON
3 epithermal model
Adularia: from the Martha Hill low sulfidation deposit, NZ
Advanced Argillic
alteration- High
sulfidation deposits
Vuggy silica

Native sulfur
(sometimes with vs)

Vuggy
Kaol-ser
slica
Kaolinite ser
(alunite)

Alunite replacing K-spar


Magmatic-Hydrothermal System
• Spatial relationship between deposits & magmas
High sulphidation
epithermal deposit
Low sulphidation
epithermal deposit

Argillic
alteration
Propylitic
alteration
Phyllic
alteration Propylitic
Intrusive alteration
Breccia
Volcanic Breccia
Rocks
Porphyry Cu deposit

Potassic
alteration
Metasedimentary
Basement Limestone

~1 km
Skarn & manto deposit
Felsic intrusion
SKARN DEPOSITS
• Proximal to porphyry deposit hosted in limestones

• SKARN - CALC-SILICATE minerals generally dominated


by GARNET and PYROXENE—lots of green and red
minerals
• Form where acidic magmatic hydrothermal fluids are
expelled into sedimentary rocks, especially limestone.
• This causes limestone dissolution and neutralization of
the ore fluid. Neutralization leads to precipitation of
ore minerals.
Zn Skarn
NQld,
Mungana
deposit
1cm

(Georgees, 2007)
Examples: Skarn • Typical of skarn deposits,
common around porphyries

• Common in limestone

• High temperature (>500C)

• Mineralogy: garnet & pyroxene


(calcsilicate), brown-green
colour, hard, texturally
destructive

• Other common alteration


minerals

– Carbonate, Feldspar, Chlorite,


Amphibole, Fluorite, Sulphide
The end