Genesis of superimposed hypogene and supergene Fe orebodies in BIF at the Madoonga deposit, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia

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Abstract

The Madoonga iron ore body hosted by banded iron formation (BIF) in the Weld Range greenstone belt of Western Australia is a blend of four genetically and compositionally distinct types of high-grade (>55 wt% Fe) iron ore that includes: (1) hypogene magnetite-talc veins, (2) hypogene specular hematite-quartz veins, (3) supergene goethite-hematite, and (4) supergene-modified, goethite-hematite-rich detrital ores. The spatial coincidence of these different ore types is a major factor controlling the overall size of the Madoonga ore body, but results in a compositionally heterogeneous ore deposit. Hypogene magnetite-talc veins that are up to 3 m thick and 50 m long formed within mylonite and shear zones located along the limbs of isoclinal, recumbent F1 folds. Relative to least-altered BIF, the magnetite-talc veins are enriched in Fe2O3(total), P2O5, MgO, Sc, Ga, Al2O3, Cl, and Zr; and depleted in SiO2 and MnO2. Mafic igneous countryrocks located within 10 m of the northern contact of the mineralised BIF display the replacement of primary igneous amphibole and plagioclase, and metamorphic chlorite by hypogene ferroan chlorite, talc, and magnetite. Later-forming, hypogene specular hematite-quartz veins and their associated alteration halos partly replace magnetite-talc veins in BIF and formed during, to shortly after, the F2-folding and tilting of the Weld Range tectono-stratigraphy. Supergene goethite-hematite ore zones that are up to 150 m wide, 400 m long, and extend to depths of 300 m replace least-altered BIF and existing hypogene alteration zones. The supergene ore zones formed as a result of the circulation of surface oxidised fluids through late NNW- to NNE-trending, subvertical brittle faults. Flat-lying, supergene goethite-hematite-altered, detrital sediments are concentrated in a paleo-topographic depression along the southern side of the main ENE-trending ridge at Madoonga. Iron ore deposits of the Weld Range greenstone belt record remarkably similar deformation histories, overprinting hypogene alteration events, and high-grade Fe ore types to other Fe ore deposits in the wider Yilgarn Craton (e. g. Koolyanobbing and Windarling deposits) despite these Fe camps being presently located more than 400 km apart and in different tectono-stratigraphic domains. Rather than the existence of a synchronous, Yilgarn-wide, Fe mineralisation event affecting BIF throughout the Yilgarn, it is more likely that these geographically isolated Fe ore districts experienced similar tectonic histories, whereby hypogene fluids were sourced from commonly available fluid reservoirs (e. g. metamorphic, magmatic, or both) and channelled along evolving structures during progressive deformation, resulting in several generations of Fe ore. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-395
JournalMineralium Deposita
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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