Geology, geochronology, and fluid inclusion studies of the xiaorequanzi volcanogenic massive sulphide Cu–Zn deposit in the east Tianshan Terrane, China

Xi Heng He, Xiao Hua Deng, Leon Bagas, Jing Zhang, Chao Li, Wen Dong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The Xiaorequanzi Cu–Zn deposit is in the westernmost part of East Tianshan Terrane in northwestern China. The deposit is unique in the region being a volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit located near a zone (or belt) containing giant late Paleozoic porphyry Cu deposits. Aiming to better understand the genesis of the mineral deposits in the terrane and their tectonic setting, we report our findings of detailed studies on fluid inclusion microthermometry, Re–Os dating of chalcopyrite from the massive ore, and U–Pb dating of zircons from the host volcanic rocks. There are two sulphide stages with early pyrite succeeded by chalcopyrite–sphalerite, which are hydrothermally overprinted and supergene enriched. The hydrothermal overprinting is characterised by quartz–sulphide veins crossed by carbonate-rich quartz veins. Quartz from the chalcopyrite– sphalerite stage is characterised by primary fluid inclusions containing H2O–NaCl(–CO2) and homogenise at 228–392 °C with a salinity of 2.2–13.3 wt.% NaCl equiv. Secondary fluid inclusions related to the hydrothermal overprinting homogenise at 170– 205 °C with a salinity of 2.7–12.1 wt.% NaCl equiv. Fluid inclusions in the quartz–sulphide stage of the hydrothermal overprinting contain H2O–NaCl with homogenisation temperatures of 164–281 °C and salinities in ranging from 2.9 to 12.4 wt.% NaCl equiv. Fluid inclusion in the quartz–calcite stage contain H2O–NaCl with homogenisation temperatures of 122–204 °C with salinities of 1.4–12.4 wt.% NaCl equiv. These characteristics are like those of the secondary fluid inclusions in the VMS mineralisation. Combining these findings with H–O isotopic data from previous studies, we propose that the primary mineralising fluid is magmatic in origin. Tuff hosting the mineralisation yields a SHRIMP U–Pb zircon age of 352 ± 5 Ma, which is interpreted as the age of the tuff, and a porphyritic felsite dyke intruding the tuff yields a SHRIMP U–Pb zircon date of 345 ± 6 Ma, interpreted as the emplacement age of the dyke. Chalcopyrite from the main orebody at Xiaorequanzi yields a Re–Os isochron age of 336 ± 13 Ma with an initial187Os/188Os ratio of 0.25 ± 0.55 (MSWD = 12). Given that the VMS deposit is a syngenetic deposit, we regard the upper ca. 349 Ma limit of the Re–Os date as the approximate age of the chalcopyrite. The three dates are the same within error, and the upper limit of the Re–Os date of ca. 349 is taken as the age of the volcanic, dyke, and mineralisation. The volcanic rocks around the Xiaorequanzi deposit have been previously classified as calc–alkaline to high-K calc–alkaline enriched in large-ion lithophile elements and depleted in high-field-strength elements, which are characteristics indicative of a forearc setting. It is suggested that VMS mineralisation formed in a forearc setting related to the north-directed subduction of the Palaeo-Kangguer or North Tianshan oceanic plates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1392-1410
Number of pages19
JournalCanadian Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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