Gold deposits of the northern margin of the North China Craton: multiple late Paleozoic-Mesozoic mineralizing events

Craig Hart, R.J. Goldfarb, Y. Qiu, L. Snee, L.D. Miller, M.L. Miller

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    The northern margin of the North China craton is well-endowed with lode gold deposits hosting a resource of approximately 900 tonnes (t) of gold. The similar to 1,500-km-long region is characterized by east-trending blocks of metamorphosed Archean and Proterozoic strata that were episodically uplifted during Variscan, Indosinian, and Yanshanian deformational and magmatic events. At least 12 gold deposits from the Daqinshan, Yan-Liao (includes the Zhangjiakou, Yanshan, and Chifeng gold districts), and Changbaishan gold provinces contain resources of 20-100 t Au each. Most deposits are hosted in uplifted blocks of Precambrian metamorphic rocks, although felsic Paleozoic and Mesozoic plutons are typically proximal and host similar to 30% of the deposits. The lodes are characterized by sulfide-poor quartz veins in brittle structures with low base metal values and high Au:Ag ratios. Although phyllic alteration is most common, intensive alkali feldspar metasomatism characterizes the Wulashan, Dongping, and Zhongshangou deposits, but is apparently coeval with Variscan alkalic magmatism only at Wulashan. Stepwise Ar-40-Ar-39 geochronology on 16 samples from gangue and alteration phases, combined with unpublished SHRIMP U-Pb dates on associated granitoids, suggest that gold mineralizing events occurred during Variscan, Indosinian, and Yanshanian orogenies at circa 350, 250, 200, 180, 150, and 129 Ma. However, widespread Permo-Triassic (similar to 250 Ma) and Early Jurassic (similar to 180 Ma) thermal events caused variable resetting of most of the white mica and K-feldspar argon spectra, as well as previously reported K-Ar determinations. Compiled and new stable isotope and fluid inclusion data show that most delta(18)O values for ore-stage veins range from 8 to 14parts per thousands, indicating a fluid in equilibrium with the Precambrian metamorphic basement rocks; deltaD values from fluid inclusions range widely from -64 to -154parts per thousands, which is indicative of a local meteoric component in some veins; and highly variable delta(34)S data (+7 to -17parts per thousands), even within individual deposits, indicate various local country-rock sources for sulfur. Fluid inclusions from all districts show variable homogenization temperatures between 240 and 400degreesC, and are consistently characterized by low salinity, H2O-CO2 +/- CH4, N-2 solutions. Although the data are largely consistent with that from orogenic gold veins, intrusion-related veins and epithermal veins are also recognized. The multiple episodes of mineralization are coincident with episodic tectonic reactivations and associated magmatism along the northern margin of the North China craton.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)326-351
    JournalMineralium Deposita
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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