Tectonic setting, evolution and orogenic gold potential of the late Mesoarchaean Mosquito Creek Basin, North Pilbara Craton, Western Australia

Leon Bagas, Frank Bierlein, S. Bodorkos, D.R. Nelson

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    19 Citations (Scopus)


    The geology, evolution, and metallogenic potential of the Mesoarchaean Mosquito Creek Basin remains poorly understood, despite the presence of several orogenic gold deposits. The basin is dominated by medium- to coarse-grained, poorly sorted and chemically immature sandstone and conglomerates, characterised by very high Cr/Th, high Th/Sc, and low Zr/Sc relative to average continental crust. These features are consistent with the presence of significant mafic rocks in the source terrain(s), a limited role for sediment recycling, and deposition in an increasingly distal passive margin setting on the southeastern edge of the Palaeo- to Mesoarchaean East Pilbara Terrane.New U-Pb SHRIMP data on 358 detrital zircons indicate a conservative maximum depositional age of 2972 + 14/-37 Ma (robust median; 96.1% confidence). Zircon provenance spectra from conglomeratic rocks near the base of the unit are consistent with substantial derivation from the East Pilbara Terrane, but finer-grained sandstones higher in the stratigraphy appear to have been sourced elsewhere, as their zircon age spectra are not well matched by any of the exposed Pilbara terranes.The Mosquito Creek Basin was deformed before and during collision with the northern edge of the Mesoarchaean Kurrana Terrane, which resulted in the development of macroscopic north-verging folds, thrust faulting, and widespread sub-greenschist to greenschist facies metamorphism. This collisional event probably took place at ca. 2900 Ma, based on two identical Pb-Pb model ages of 2905 +/- 9 Ma from epigenetic galena associated with vein-hosted gold-antimony mineralization. The metallogenic potential of the Mosquito Creek Basin remains largely unevaluated; however, the possibility of a passive margin setting and continental basement points to relatively limited potential for the formation of major orogenic gold deposits. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V.All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-244
    JournalPrecambrian Research
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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