Tectono-metallogenic systems — The place of mineral systems within tectonic evolution, with an emphasis on Australian examples

D.L. Huston, T.P. Mernagh, Steffen Hagemann, M.P. Doublier, Marco Fiorentini, D.C. Champion, A. Lynton Jaques, K. Czarnota, R. Cayley, R. Skirrow, E. Bastrakov

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    74 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2015Tectono-metallogenic systems are geological systems that link geodynamic and tectonic processes with ore-forming processes. Fundamental geodynamic processes, including buoyancy-related processes, crustal/lithospheric thinning and crustal/lithospheric thickening, have occurred throughout Earth's history, but tectonic systems, which are driven by these processes, have evolved as Earth's interior has cooled. Tectonic systems are thought to have evolved from magma oceans in the Hadean through an unstable “stagnant-lid” regime in the earlier Archean into a proto-plate tectonic regime from the late Archean onwards. Modern-style plate tectonics is thought to have become dominant by the start of the Paleozoic. Mineral systems with general similarities to modern or geologically recent systems have been present episodically (or semi-continuously) through much of Earth's history, but most of Earth's present endowment of mineral wealth was formed during and after the Neoarchean, when proto- or modern-style plate tectonic systems became increasingly dominant and following major changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere and hydrosphere. Changes in the characteristics of some mineral systems, such as the volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) system, reflect changes in tectonic style during the evolution towards the modern plate tectonic regime, but may also involve secular changes in the hydrosphere and atmosphere. Whereas tectono-metallogenic systems have evolved in general over Earth's history, specific tectono-metallogenic systems evolve over much shorter time frames. Most mineral deposits form in three general tectono-metallogenic systems: divergent systems, convergent systems, and intraplate systems. Although fundamental geodynamic processes have driven the evolution of these systems, their relative importance may change as the systems evolved. For example, buoyancy-driven (mantle convection/plumes) and crustal thinning are the dominant processes driving the early rift stage of divergent tectono-metallogenic syste
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)168-210
    Number of pages43
    JournalOre Geology Reviews
    Early online date13 Sep 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


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