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Temperature-Controlled Ore Evolution in Orogenic Gold Systems Related to Synchronous Granitic Magmatism: An Example from the Iron Quadrangle Province, Brazil
Economic Geology  (IF4.49),  Pub Date : 2021-06-01, DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.4814
Wendell Fabricio-Silva, Hartwig E. Frimmel, Maria Emília Shutesky, Carlos A. Rosière, Armando J. Massucatto

Against the background of an ongoing debate on the genetic relationship between orogenic gold and granitic magmatism, we studied the evolution of a gold-mineralizing system in shear zone-hosted veins that are spatially associated with a syn- to late tectonic 2.69 Ga granite at the Satinoco deposit in the Archean Pitangui greenstone belt (Iron Quadrangle, Brazil). Detailed underground mine mapping, petrography, laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), and elemental mapping of sulfide grains revealed a complex polyphase history, with at least three gold-bearing stages: (1) A syntectonic arsenopyrite (Apy1)-löllingite-pyrrhotite assemblage I that formed during prograde metamorphism from ca. 475° to 650°C at 3 to 4 kbars; (2) further fluid circulation during syn- to late tectonic retrograde metamorphism from ca. 510° to 445°C, which led to a pyrrhotite-arsenopyrite (Apy2) ± löllingite ± galena assemblage II; and (3) a pyrite-pyrrhotite-galena ± chalcopyrite ± sphalerite ± ullmannite assemblage III formed during a later post-tectonic brittle deformation event from ca. 350° to 300°C at 1 to 2 kbars. Ascending granitic magma acted as a heat engine for peak metamorphic temperatures locally, that is at the immediate contact, reaching as much as 730°C and, together with the dehydration of mafic and ultramafic host rocks, generated the sulfide assemblage I. Crosscutting field relationships, together with existing S isotope data, indicate a metamorphic origin for all the sulfide stages with a contribution from granite-derived magmatogenic fluids to the mineralizing system at stage II. New X-ray element maps together with LA-ICP-MS spot analyses document oscillatory zoning of As, Fe, and Ni in Apy1 and enrichment in Ni, Mn, Zn, and V. The large amount of pyrrhotite in assemblage II is explained by granite-related Fe metasomatism. This stage led to an enrichment in Co, Sb, and Pb and the redistribution of Au. Assemblage III involved the formation of pyrite veins and precipitation of free gold and Pb-Sb-Cu-Zn sulfides in microfractures of this pyrite. This stage was likely responsible for the remobilization of Ni, Cu, Zn, and Bi-Te minerals. Based on existing geochronological data, at least most of the gold formed between ~2.72 and 2.68 Ga. This study revealed that gold mineralization took place over a wide range of temperatures—a finding that might be not only specific to the Satinoco deposit but possibly to other orogenic-type gold deposits elsewhere as well.