Reconciling fluid inclusion types, fluid processes, and fluid sources in skarns: an example from the Bismark Deposit, Mexico

Baker, Timothy, and Lang, James R. (2003) Reconciling fluid inclusion types, fluid processes, and fluid sources in skarns: an example from the Bismark Deposit, Mexico. Mineralium Deposita, 38 (4). pp. 474-495.

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Abstract

The Bismark deposit (8.5 Mt at 8% Zn, 0.5% Pb, 0.2% Cu, and 50 g/t Ag) located in northern Mexico is an example of a stock-contact skarn end member of a continuum of deposit types collectively called high-temperature, carbonate-replacement deposits. The deposit is hosted by massive sulfide within altered limestone adjacent to the Bismark quartz monzonite stock (~42 Ma) and the Bismark fault. Alteration concurrently developed in both the intrusion and limestone. The former contains early potassic alteration comprising K-feldspar and biotite, which was overprinted by kaolinite-rich veins and alteration and later quartz, sericite, and pyrite with minor sphalerite and chalcopyrite. Prograde exoskarn alteration in the limestone consists of green andradite and diopside, and transitional skarn comprising red-brown andradite, green hedenbergite and minor vesuvinite, calcite, fluorite, and quartz. The main ore stage post-dates calc-silicate minerals and comprises sphalerite and galena with gangue pyrite, pyrrhotite, calcite, fluorite, and quartz. The entire hydrothermal system developed synchronously with faulting. Fluid inclusion studies reveal several distinct temporal, compositional, and thermal populations in pre-, syn- and post-ore quartz, fluorite, and calcite. The earliest primary fluid inclusions are coexisting vapor-rich (type 2A) and halite-bearing (type 3A; type 3B contain sylvite) brine inclusions (32 to >60 total wt% salts) that occur in pre-ore fluorite. Trapping temperatures are estimated to have been in excess of 400 °C under lithostatic pressures of ~450 bar (~1.5 km depth). Primary fluid inclusions trapped in syn-ore quartz display critical to near critical behavior (type 1C), have moderate salinity (8.4 to 10.9 wt% NaCl equiv.) and homogenization temperatures (Th) ranging from 351 to 438 °C. Liquid-rich type 1A and 1B (calcite-bearing) inclusions occur as primary to secondary inclusions predominantly in fluorite and show a range in Th (104–336 °C) and salinity (2.7–11.8 wt% NaCl equiv.), which at the higher Th and salinity ranges overlap with type 1C inclusions. Oxygen isotope analysis was carried out on garnet, quartz, and calcite (plus carbon isotopes) in pre-, syn-, post-ore, and peripheral veins. Pre-ore skarn related garnets have a d 18O mineral range between 3.9 and 8.4‰. Quartz from the main ore stage range between 13.6 and 16.0‰. Calcite from the main ore stage has d 13C values of –2.9 to –5.1‰ and d 18O values of 12.3 to 14.1‰, which are clearly distinct from post-ore veins and peripheral prospects that have much higher d 18O (16.6–27.3‰) and d 13C (1.3–3.1‰) values. Despite the numerous fluid inclusion types, only two fluid sources can be inferred, namely a magmatic fluid and an external fluid that equilibrated with limestone. Furthermore, isotopic data does not indicate any significant mixing between the two fluids, although fluid inclusion data may be interpreted otherwise. Thus, the various fluid types were likely to have formed from varying pressure–temperature conditions through faulting during exsolution of magmatic fluids. Late-stage hydrothermal fluid activity was dominated by the non-magmatic fluids and was post-ore.

Item ID: 9290
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: base metals; carbonate-replacement deposits; Mexico; skarns; stable isotopes, fluid inclusions
ISSN: 1432-1866
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2010 05:43
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040203 Isotope Geochemistry @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040201 Exploration Geochemistry @ 50%
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840108 Zinc Ore Exploration @ 50%
84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840102 Copper Ore Exploration @ 50%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 19
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