The magmatic-hydrothermal architecture of the Archean Volcanic Massive Sulfide (VMS) System at Panorama, Pilbara, Western Australia

Susan Drieberg

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract. Formulae and special characters can only be approximated here. Please see the pdf version of this abstract for an accurate representation.] The 3.24 Ga Panorama VMS District, located in the Pilbara Craton of Western Australia, is exposed as a cross-section through subvolcanic granite intrusions and a coeval submarine volcanic sequence that hosts Zn-Cu mineralization. The near-complete exposure across the district, the very low metamorphic grade, and the remarkable preservation of primary igneous and volcanic textures provides an unparalleled opportunity to examine the P-T-X-source evolution of a VMS ore-forming system and to assess the role of the subvolcanic intrusions as heat sources and/or metal contributors to the overlying VMS hydrothermal system. Detailed mapping of the Panorama VMS District has revealed seven major vein types related to the VMS hydrothermal system or to the subvolcanic intrusions. (1) Quartz-chalcopyrite veins, hosted in granophyric granite immediately beneath the granite-volcanic contact, formed prior to main stage VMS hydrothermal convection, and were precipitated from mixed H2OCO 2-NaCl-KCl fluids with variable salinities (2.5 to 8.5 wt% NaCl equiv). (2) Quartz-sericite veins, ubiquitous across the top 50m of the volcanic sequence, were formed from an Archean seawater with a salinity of 9.7 to 11.2 wt% NaCl equiv at temperatures of 90° to 135°C. These veins formed synchronous with the regional feldspar-sericite-quartz-ankerite alteration during seawater recharge into the main stage VMS hydrothermal convection cells. (3) Quartz-pyrite veins hosted in granophyric granite, and (4) quartz-carbonate-pyrite veins hosted in andesitebasalt, also formed from relatively unevolved Archean seawater (5.5 to 10.1 wt% NaCl equiv; 150° to 225°C), but during the collapse of the VMS hydrothermal system when cool, unmodified seawater invaded the top of the subvolcanic intrusions. (5) Quartz-topaz-muscovite greisen, (6) quartz-chlorite-chalcopyrite vein greisen, and (7) hydrothermal Cu-Zn-Sn veins are hosted in the subvolcanic intrusions. Primary H2O-NaCl-CaCl2 fluid inclusions in the vein greisens were complex high temperature hypersaline inclusions (up to 590°C and up to 56 wt% NaCl equiv). The H2O-CO2-NaCl fluid inclusions in the Cu-Zn-Sn veins have variable salinities, ranging from 4.9 to 14.1 wt% NaCl equiv, and homogenization temperatures ranging from 160° to 325°C. The hydrothermal quartz veins and magmatic metasomatic phases in the subvolcanic intrusions were formed from a magmatic-hydrothermal fluid that had evolved through wallrock reactions, cooling, and finally mixing with seawater-derived VMS hydrothermal fluids.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2003

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