Carbon and oxygen isotope constraints on fluid sources and fluid–wallrock interaction in regional alteration and iron-oxide–copper–gold mineralisation, eastern Mt Isa Block, Australia

Marshall, Lucas J., Oliver, Nicholas H.S., and Davidson, Garry J. (2006) Carbon and oxygen isotope constraints on fluid sources and fluid–wallrock interaction in regional alteration and iron-oxide–copper–gold mineralisation, eastern Mt Isa Block, Australia. Mineralium Deposita, 41 (5). pp. 429-452.

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Abstract

The source of metasomatic fluids in iron-oxide–copper–gold districts is contentious with models for magmatic and other fluid sources having been proposed. For this study, δ 18O and δ 13C ratios were measured from carbonate mineral separates in the Proterozoic eastern Mt Isa Block of Northwest Queensland, Australia. Isotopic analyses are supported by petrography, mineral chemistry and cathodoluminescence imagery. Marine meta-carbonate rocks (ca. 20.5‰ δ 18O and 0.5‰ δ 13C calcite) and graphitic meta-sedimentary rocks (ca. 14‰ δ 18O and −18‰ δ 13C calcite) are the main supracrustal reservoirs of carbon and oxygen in the district. The isotopic ratios for calcite from the cores of Na–(Ca) alteration systems strongly cluster around 11‰ δ 18O and −7‰ δ 13C, with shifts towards higher δ 18O values and higher and lower δ 13C values, reflecting interaction with different hostrocks. Na–(Ca)-rich assemblages are out of isotopic equilibrium with their metamorphic hostrocks, and isotopic values are consistent with fluids derived from or equilibrated with igneous rocks. However, igneous rocks in the eastern Mt Isa Block contain negligible carbon and are incapable of buffering the δ 13C signatures of CO2-rich metasomatic fluids associated with Na–(Ca) alteration. In contrast, plutons in the eastern Mt Isa Block have been documented as having exsolved saline CO2-rich fluids and represent the most probable fluid source for Na–(Ca) alteration. Intrusion-proximal, skarn-like Cu–Au orebodies that lack significant K and Fe enrichment (e.g. Mt Elliott) display isotopic ratios that cluster around values of 11‰ δ 18O and −7‰ δ 13C (calcite), indicating an isotopically similar fluid source as for Na–(Ca) alteration and that significant fluid–wallrock interaction was not required in the genesis of these deposits. In contrast, K- and Fe-rich, intrusion-distal deposits (e.g. Ernest Henry) record significant shifts in δ 18O and δ 13C towards values characteristic of the broader hostrocks to the deposits, reflecting fluid–wallrock equilibration before mineralisation. Low temperature, low salinity, low δ 18O (<10‰ calcite) and CO2-poor fluids are documented in retrograde metasomatic assemblages, but these fluids are paragenetically late and have not contributed significantly to the mass budgets of Cu–Au mineralisation.

Item ID: 4629
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1866
Keywords: IOCG; fluid sources; Cloncurry; stable isotopes; carbonate minerals; Australia
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2009 22:56
SEO Codes: 84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8499 Other Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources) > 849999 Mineral Resources (excl. Energy Resources) not elsewhere classified @ 70%
84 MINERAL RESOURCES (excl. Energy Resources) > 8401 Mineral Exploration > 840105 Precious (Noble) Metal Ore Exploration @ 30%
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