Mobility of Au and related elements during the hydrothermal alteration of the oceanic crust: implications for the sources of metals in VMS deposits
Number of Authors: 4
2016 (English)In: Mineralium Deposita, ISSN 0026-4598, E-ISSN 1432-1866, Vol. 51, no 2, 179-200 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits are commonly enriched in Cu, Zn and Pb and can also be variably enriched in Au, As, Sb, Se and Te. The behaviour of these elements during hydrothermal alteration of the oceanic crust is not well known. Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Hole 1256D penetrates a complete in situ section of the upper oceanic crust, providing a unique sample suite to investigate the behaviour of metals during hydrothermal alteration. A representative suite of samples was analysed for Au, As, Sb, Se and Te using low detection limit methods, and a mass balance of metal mobility has been carried out through comparison with a fresh Mid-Oceanic Ridge Basalt (MORB) glass database. The mass balance shows that Au, As, Se, Sb, S, Cu, Zn and Pb are depleted in the sheeted dyke and plutonic complexes by -46 +/- 12, -27 +/- 5, -2.5 +/- 0.5, -27 +/- 6, -8.4 +/- 0.7, -9.6 +/- 1.6, -7.9 +/- 0.5 and -44 +/- 6 %, respectively. Arsenic and Sb are enriched in the volcanic section due to seawater-derived fluid circulation. Calculations suggest that large quantities of metal are mobilised from the oceanic crust but only a small proportion is eventually trapped as VMS mineralisation. The quantity of Au mobilised and the ratio of Au to base metals are similar to those of mafic VMS, and ten times enrichment of Au would be needed to form a Au-rich VMS. The Cu-rich affinity of mafic VMS deposits could be explained by base metal fractionation both in the upper sheeted dykes and during VMS deposit formation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 51, no 2, 179-200 p.
Volcanic massive sulphide, Au-rich VMS, ODP Hole 1256D, Hydrothermal alteration, Oceanic crust
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject Geology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-127363DOI: 10.1007/s00126-015-0598-8ISI: 000369006600001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-127363DiVA: diva2:910891