A crucial role for slab break-off in the generation of major mineral deposits: insights from central and eastern Australia

I.M.A. Vos, Frank Bierlein, P.S. Heithersay

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    11 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    In the Lachlan Fold Belt of southeastern Australia, major orogenic gold and porphyry gold-copper deposits formed simultaneously within distinct tectonic settings during a very short time interval at ca. 440 Ma. The driving mechanism that controlled the temporal coincidence of these deposits remains largely unexplained. A review of contemporaneous metallogenic, tectonic, magmatic and sedimentological events in central and eastern Australia reveals that a change in subduction dynamics along the Australian sector of the Early Palaeozoic circum-Gondwana mega-subduction system could have influenced lithospheric stress conditions far inboard of the subduction margin. The magnitude of ore formation and the spatial extent of related events are proposed in this paper to have been controlled by the interplay of mantle processes and lithospheric changes that followed slab break-off along a portion of the mega-subduction system surrounding Gondwana at that time. Slab break-off after subduction lock-up caused mantle upwelling that, in turn, provided an instantaneous heat supply for magmatic and hydrothermal events. Coincident reorganisation of lithospheric stress conditions far inboard of the proto-Pacific margin of Australia controlled reactivation of deep-lithospheric fault structures. These fault systems provided a pathway for fluids and heat fuelled by mantle upwelling into the upper lithosphere and caused the deposition of similar to 440 Ma gold deposits in the Lachlan Fold Belt, as well as a range of metallogenic, tectonic and sedimentary changes elsewhere in central and eastern Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)515-522
    JournalMineralium Deposita
    Volume42
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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