The multiple sulfur isotope architecture of the Kambalda nickel camp, Western Australia

Sebastian Staude, Laure A.J. Martin, Matvei Aleshin, Marco L. Fiorentini, Gregor Markl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New data on the multiple sulfur isotope signature of Archean sulfides from country rocks and magmatic mineralization at the Moran deposit (Kambalda, Western Australia) were combined with previously published geochemical data to constrain the various stages of the dynamic evolution of this magmatic system, unveiling new insights into the transport mechanisms of sulfide liquids in komatiite magmas. Sulfides in the Archean magmatic and sedimentary host rocks of the komatiites display a unique mass-independent sulfur isotope signature (Δ33S), which records a photochemical reaction of sulfur in an oxygen-poor atmosphere prior to the Great Oxidation Event. Sedimentary rocks that are thought to be assimilated by komatiite show a distinctly positive Δ33S signature (+ 0.9 to + 2.4‰). Early ore sulfides situated above these sedimentary rocks contain relatively few valuable metals and display an overlapping Δ33S range (+ 0.6 to + 1.0‰). Subsequent but still early ore sulfides are situated above basalt, as the sedimentary rocks were thermo-mechanically eroded by the sulfide melt, displaying more mantle-like signatures (+ 0.2 to + 0.3‰) and valuable metal content - indistinguishable from the main ore deposit. This reflects a progressive dilution of the contaminant signature by the magmatic isotope signature of the komatiite liquid. Calculated volumes of the interaction of silicate melt and sulfide melt to explain the metal tenor of the ore and its Δ33S signature indicate a decoupling between chemical and isotopic signatures. This can be explained by upgrading the sulfide melt with valuable metals simultaneously with the dissolution of sulfur in the komatiite melt.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-518
Number of pages14
JournalMineralium Deposita
Issue number3
Early online date18 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


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