A Late Triassic gold metallogenic event within the extended tectonic evolution of the West Qinling Orogen, central China: Constraints from U-Pb and Ar-Ar geochronology in the Yangshan gold district

Li Qiang Yang, Nan Li, David Ian Groves, Ri Han, Xing Zhong Ji, Shi Yao Zhai, Can Can Wang, Kun Feng Qiu, Jun Deng

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Abstract

The West Qinling Orogen in central China resulted from Late Devonian to Triassic collisional orogenesis involving accreted terranes along the southwestern margin of the North China Block with subsequent ocean closure and collision of the South China Block with those terranes. The Yangshan gold district, with a pre-mining resource of more than 308 t gold, is situated along the Mianlue Suture Zone on the southern margin of the orogen. The gold orebodies are mainly controlled by the ENE-trending Anchanghe-Guanyinba Fault and its subparallel second-order faults. The relatively low pressure–temperature mineralization is dominated by disseminated pyrite, arsenopyrite, and stibnite hosted in phyllite and granite dikes, accompanied by intense muscovite-silica-carbonate alteration. Four major phases of deformation related to collisional tectonics are recorded in the Yangshan gold district. Early N-S-oriented compressional deformation (D1) is characterized by an alignment of muscovite, overgrowths on framboidal pyrite, and quartz veinlets. D2 is characterized by a series of continuous ENE-trending reverse faults and folds at multiple scales related to SSE-NNW-oriented compression. D3 is related to gold mineralization and is characterized by a series of ENE-trending, largely normal faults, formed during transtensional tectonics. D4 post-dates gold mineralization and is associated with the development of nearly N-S-trending, low-displacement normal faults. New high-precision SHRIMP zircon U-Pb dating of three types of granite dikes in the Yangshan gold district yields broadly coincident ages of 216 ± 3.0 Ma to 210 ± 9.7 Ma, which is a range identical to that of existing dates of 217–211 Ma for more regional granite magmatism in this district. New Ar-Ar dating of gold-related muscovite gives an age of 210.9 ± 1.6 Ma for the Yangshan gold deposit, indicating that hydrothermal activity overlapped or post-dated the final stages of granite intrusion. Pre-226 Ma peak metamorphism of the ore-hosting rocks occurred prior to extensional ductile shear deformation that is constrained by a published 40Ar/39Ar muscovite cooling age of 223 ± 2 Ma. In good agreement, U-Pb constrained ages of retrograde metamorphism and associated late magmatism of around 215 Ma are reported for rocks along the Mianlue Suture Zone. These geological and geochronological data suggest that relatively shallow-level gold mineralization was broadly coeval with Late Triassic transtensional, orogen-parallel deformation along the regional-scale fault system, late in the tectonic evolution of the West Qinling Orogen. This is consistent with its classification as epizonal orogenic gold mineralization.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105890
JournalOre Geology Reviews
Volume165
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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