Caught in the moment: interaction of immiscible carbonate and sulfide liquids in mafic silicate magma—insights from the Rudniy intrusion (NW Mongolia)

Maria Cherdantseva, Andrey Vishnevskiy, Pedro J. Jugo, Laure A.J. Martin, Matvei Aleshin, Malcolm P. Roberts, Elena Shaparenko, Andrew Langendam, Daryl L. Howard, Marco L. Fiorentini

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The Devonian Rudniy intrusion is a composite magmatic body comprising two gabbroid units. Located in the Tsagaan-Shuvuut ridge in NW Mongolia, it is the only one known to contain disseminated sulfide Ni-Cu-PGE minerals out of numerous gabbroid intrusions surrounding the Tuva depression. The ore occurs as disseminated sulfide globules made of pyrrhotite, pentlandite, chalcopyrite, and cubanite, confined to a narrow troctolitic layer at the margins of a melanogabbro, at the contact with a previously emplaced leucogabbro. Globules generally display mantle-dominated sulfur isotopic signatures but show variable metallogenic and mineralogical characteristics, as well as notably different sizes and morphologies reflecting variable cooling and crystallization regimes in different parts of the intrusion. Sulfides from the chilled margin of the melanogabbro are surrounded and intergrown with volatile-rich (i.e., CO2-, H2O-, F-, and Cl) phases such as calcite, chlorite, mica, amphibole, and apatite. Based on the mineralogical and textural relationships of volatile-rich phases with sulfides, we argue that this assemblage represents the product of the crystallization of volatile-rich carbonate melt immiscible with both silicate and sulfide liquids. We put forward the hypothesis that volatile-rich carbonate melt envelops sulfide droplets facilitating their transport in magmatic conduits and that this process may be more widespread than commonly thought. The smaller sulfide globules, which are interpreted to derive from the breakup of larger globules during transport and emplacement, do not display an association with volatile-rich phases, suggesting that the original carbonate melt could have been detached from them during the evolution of the magmatic system. Variable rates of crystallization may have been responsible for the observed disparities in the mineralogical and metallogenic characteristics of different sulfide globules entrained in the Rudniy intrusion.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMineralium Deposita
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2023

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