Modeling outflow from the Ernest Henry Fe oxide Cu-Au deposit: implications for ore genesis and exploration

Mark, Geordie, Wilde, Andy, Oliver, Nicholas H.S., Williams, Patrick J., and Ryan, Chris G. (2005) Modeling outflow from the Ernest Henry Fe oxide Cu-Au deposit: implications for ore genesis and exploration. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 85 (1). pp. 31-46.

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The Ernest Henry Fe oxide Cu–Au (IOCG) deposit (>ca. 1.51 Ga) is hosted by breccia produced during the waning stages of an evolving hydrothermal system that formed a number of tens of metres to a kilometre scale, pre- and syn-ore alteration halos, although no demonstrable patterns have been attributed to fluids expelled through the outflow zones. However, the recognition of a population of hypersaline fluid inclusions representing the ‘spent’ fluids after Cu–Au deposition at Ernest Henry provides the basis to model the geochemical characteristics of the deposit's outflow zones. Geochemical modeling at 300 °C was undertaken at both high and low fluid/rock ratios via FLUSH models involving three host rock types: (1) granite, (2) calc–silicate rock, and (3) graphitic schist. In models run at high fluid/rock ratios, all rock types are essentially fluid-buffered, and produce an albite–quartz–hematite–barite-rich assemblage, although in low fluid–rock environments, the pH, redox, and geochemical character of the host rock exerts a greater influence on the mineralogy of the alteration assemblages (e.g., andradite, Fe–chlorite, and magnetite). Significant sulphide mineralization was predicted in graphitic schist where sphalerite occurred in both low- and high-porosity models, which indicates the possibility of an association between high-temperature IOCG mineralization and lower temperature base metal mineralization.

Cooling experiments (from 300 to 100 °C) using the ‘spent fluids’ predict early high-T (300–200 °C) Na-, Ca-, Fe-, and Mn-rich, magnetite-bearing hydrothermal associations, whereas with cooling to below 200 °C, and with progressive fluid–rock interaction, the system produces rhodochrosite-bearing, hematite–quartz–muscovite–barite-rich assemblages. These results show that the radical geochemical and mineralogical changes associated with cooling and progressive fluid influx are likely to be accompanied by major transformations in the geophysical expression (e.g., spectral and magnetic character) of the alteration in the outflow zone, and highlight the potential link between magnetite- and hematite-bearing IOCG hydrothermal systems.

Item ID: 4525
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0375-6742
Keywords: Fe oxide Cu-Au mineralization; geochemical modeling; geochemist's workbench
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2009 05:37
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8499 Other Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources) > 849999 Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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