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Texture and Trace Element Composition of Rutile in Orogenic Gold Deposits
Economic Geology  (IF4.49),  Pub Date : 2021-12-01, DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.4857
Marjorie Sciuba, Georges Beaudoin

Rutile from a wide range of orogenic gold deposits and districts, including representative world-class deposits, was investigated for its texture and trace element composition using scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis, and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Deposits are hosted in various country rocks including felsic to ultramafic igneous rocks and sedimentary rocks, which were metamorphosed from lower greenschist to middle amphibolite facies and with ages of mineralization that range from Archean to Phanerozoic. Rutile presents a wide range of size, texture, and chemical zoning. Rutile is the dominant TiO2 polymorph in orogenic gold mineralization. Elemental plots and partial least square-discriminant analysis suggest that the composition of the country rocks exerts a strong control on concentrations of V, Nb, Ta, and Cr in rutile, whereas the metamorphic facies of the country rocks controls concentrations of V, Zr, Sc, U, rare earth elements, Y, Ca, Th, and Ba in rutile. The trace element composition of rutile in orogenic gold deposits can be distinguished from rutile in other deposit types and geologic settings. Elemental ratios Nb/V, Nb/Sb, and Sn/V differentiate the rutile trace element composition of orogenic gold deposits compared with those from other geologic settings and environments. A binary plot of Nb/V vs. W enables distinction of rutile in metamorphic-hydrothermal and hydrothermal deposits from rutile in magmatic-hydrothermal deposits and magmatic environments. The binary plot Nb/Sb vs. Sn/V distinguishes rutile in orogenic gold deposits from other geologic settings and environments. Results are used to establish geochemical criteria to constrain the source of rutile for indicator mineral surveys and potentially guide mineral exploration.