The noble gas systematics of late-orogenic H2O–CO2 fluids, Mt Isa, Australia

Kendrick, M.A., Honda, M., Oliver, N.H.S., and Phillips, D. (2011) The noble gas systematics of late-orogenic H2O–CO2 fluids, Mt Isa, Australia. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75 (6). pp. 1428-1450.

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The noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr and Xe) are powerful geochemical tracers because they have distinctive isotopic compositions in the atmosphere, crust and mantle. This study illustrates how noble gases can be used to trace fluid origins in high-temperature metamorphic and mineralising environments; and at the same time provides new information on the composition of noble gases in deeper parts of the crust than have been sampled previously.

We report data for H2O and CO2 fluid inclusions trapped at greenschist to amphibolite facies metamorphic conditions associated with three different styles of mineralisation and alteration in the Proterozoic Mt Isa Inlier of Australia. Sulphide fluid inclusions are dominated by crustal 4He. However, co-variations in fluid inclusion 20Ne/22Ne, 21Ne/22Ne, 40Ar/36Ar and 136Xe/130Xe indicate noble gases were derived from three or more reservoirs. In most cases, the fluid inclusions elemental noble gas ratios (e.g. Ne/Xe) are close to the ranges expected in sedimentary and crystalline rocks. However, the elemental ratios have been modified in some of the samples providing evidence for independent pulses of CO2, and interaction of CO2 with high-salinity aqueous fluids.

Compositional variation is attributed to mixing of: (i) magmatic fluids (or deeply sourced metamorphic fluids) characterised by basement-derived noble gases with 20Ne/22Ne ∼ 8.4, 21Ne/22Ne ∼ 0.4, 40Ar/36Ar ∼ 40,000 and 136Xe/130Xe ∼ 8; (ii) basinal–metamorphic fluids with a narrow range of compositions including near-atmospheric values and (iii) noble gases derived from the meta-sedimentary host-rocks with 20Ne/22Ne ∼ 8–9.8, 21Ne/22Ne < 0.1, 40Ar/36Ar < 2500 and 136Xe/130Xe ∼ 2.2.

These data provide the strongest geochemical evidence available for the involvement of fluids from two distinct geochemical reservoirs in Mt Isa's largest ore deposits. In addition the data show how noble gases in fluid inclusions can provide information on fluid origins, the composition of the crust's major lithologies, fluid–rock interactions and fluid–fluid mixing or immiscibility processes.

Item ID: 20853
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-9533
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2012 00:34
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0402 Geochemistry > 040201 Exploration Geochemistry @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 100%
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