Dating hypogene iron mineralization events in Archean BIF at Weld Range, Western Australia: insights into the tectonomagmatic history of the northern margin of the Yilgarn Craton

Paul Duuring, João O.S. Santos, Imogen O.H. Fielding, Timothy J. Ivanic, Steffen G. Hagemann, Thomas Angerer, Yong Jun Lu, Malcolm Roberts, Jinwoo Choi

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Abstract

This study is the first to constrain the absolute timing of hypogene iron mineralization in Archean BIF located in the Yilgarn Craton. In situ SHRIMP U–Th–Pb geochronology on xenotime and monazite grains has been used to constrain the age of hypogene magnetite replacement ores at the Beebyn deposit and hypogene magnetite vein ores at the Madoonga deposit in the Weld Range study area. The Beebyn magnetite replacement ores (c. 2627 Ma) are younger than the published maximum depositional age of the BIF hosts of the Wilgie Mia Formation (2792 ± 9 Ma) and partially overlaps crystallization ages of granitic rocks (2757–2606 Ma) that intrude supracrustal rocks throughout the study area. These plutons, and their probable subvolcanic expressions, are considered to be likely sources of energy and fluids responsible for magnetite replacement ores. In contrast, Madoonga magnetite veins record multiple dates: the first at 2857 ± 41 Ma, followed by events at c. 2775 Ma through 1812 Ma. The two oldest monazite dates of 2857 ± 41 and 2832 ± 51 Ma are interpreted to be mineralization ages for magnetite veins, possibly related to subseafloor volcanism and base metal VMS systems; whereas the younger dates (i.e. 2775–1812 Ma) probably represent multiple episodes of phosphate mineral precipitation related to reactivation of structures and overprinting by discrete pulses of hydrothermal fluids. The Madoonga BIFs are genetically distinct from the Beebyn BIFs and are the oldest dated BIFs at Weld Range, being older than c. 2857 Ma, but younger than the c. 2970 Ma felsic volcanic rocks in the stratigraphic footwall to the Madoonga BIFs. Hydrothermal events at the Madoonga deposit (2215–2120 Ma) coincide with published dates for rifting, mafic–ultramafic magmatism, and basin development along the northern margin of the Yilgarn Craton (2215–2145 Ma), whereas the younger phosphate mineral dates correspond with the Glenburgh (2002–1947 Ma) and Capricorn Orogenies (1817–1772 Ma). Tectonic activity along the northern margin of the Yilgarn Craton coincides with reported ages for hematite mineralization in BIF-hosted iron-ore deposits in the Hamersley Basin and Pilbara Craton, suggesting the far-reaching effects of tectonism along paleocratonic boundaries as drivers for iron mineralization in BIF.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMineralium Deposita
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2019

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