Lithogeochemical and hyperspectral halos to ag-zn-au mineralization at nimbus in the eastern goldfields superterrane, Western Australia

Steven P. Hollis, Sabri Foury, Stefano Caruso, Sean Johnson, Vitor Barrote, Andrew Pumphrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


With new advances in rapid-acquisition geochemical and hyperspectral techniques, exploration companies are now able to detect subtle halos surrounding orebodies at minimal expense. The Nimbus Ag-Zn-(Au) deposit is unique in the Archean Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia. Due to its mineralogy, alteration assemblages, geochemical affinity, and tectonic setting, it is interpreted to represent a shallow water (~650 mbsl) and low-temperature (<250 °C) volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit with epithermal characteristics (i.e., a hybrid bimodal felsic deposit). We present a detailed paragenetic account of the Nimbus deposit, and establish lithogeochemical and hyper-spectral halos to mineralization to aid exploration. Mineralization at Nimbus is characterized by early units of barren massive pyrite that replace glassy dacitic lavas, and underlying zones of polymetallic sulfides that replace autoclastic monomict dacite breccias. The latter are dominated by pyrite-sphalerite-galena, a diverse suite of Ag-Sb ± Pb ± As ± (Cu)-bearing sulfosalts, minor pyrrho-tite, arsenopyrite, and rare chalcopyrite. The main sulfosalt suite is characterized by pyrargyrite, and Ag-rich varieties of boulangerite, tetrahedrite, and bournonite. Zones of sulfide mineralization in quartz-sericite(±carbonate)-altered dacite are marked by significant mass gains in Fe, S, Zn, Pb, Sb, Ag, As, Cd, Ni, Cu, Ba, Co, Cr, Tl, Bi, and Au. Basaltic rocks show reduced mass gains in most elements, with zones of intense quartz-chlorite-carbonate±fuchsite alteration restricted to thick se-quences of hyaloclastite, and near contacts with dacitic rocks. Broad zones of intense silica-sericite alteration surround mineralization in dacite, and are marked by high Alteration Index and Chlorite-Carbonate-Pyrite Index (CCPI) values, strong Na-Ca depletion, and an absence of feldspar (albite) in thermal infrared (TIR) data. White mica compositions are predominantly muscovitic in weakly altered sections of the dacitic footwall sequence. More paragonitic compositions are associated with zones of increased sericitization and high-grade polymetallic sulfide mineralization. Chlorite in dacitic rocks often occurs adjacent to zones of sulfide mineralization and is restricted to narrow intervals. Carbonate abundance is sporadic in dacite, but is most abundant outside the main zones of Na-Ca depletion. Basaltic rocks are characterized by strongly paragonitic white mica composi-tions, and abundant chlorite and carbonate. Shifts from Ca carbonates and Fe-rich chlorites to more Mg-rich compositions of both minerals occur in more intensely hydrothermally altered basaltic hy-aloclastite, and near contacts with dacitic rocks. Hanging-wall polymict conglomerates are characterized by minor amounts of muscovitic to phengitic white mica (2205–2220 nm), and an absence of chlorite and carbonate alteration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number254
Pages (from-to)1-35
Number of pages35
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Lithogeochemical and hyperspectral halos to ag-zn-au mineralization at nimbus in the eastern goldfields superterrane, Western Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this