Data_Sheet_2_Zoned Pyroxenes as Prospectivity Indicators for Magmatic Ni-Cu Sulfide Mineralization.PDF (8.63 MB)
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Data_Sheet_2_Zoned Pyroxenes as Prospectivity Indicators for Magmatic Ni-Cu Sulfide Mineralization.PDF

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posted on 10.07.2020, 14:46 by Louise Schoneveld, Stephen J. Barnes, Hannu V. Makkonen, Margaux Le Vaillant, David J. Paterson, Valentina Taranovic, Kai-Yuan Wang, Ya-Jing Mao

Small intrusions dominated by olivine- and pyroxene-rich cumulates are well known to be favorable hosts to magmatic Ni-Cu-(Platinum Group Element—PGE) sulfide mineralization. Such intrusions are common in a variety of settings around the world, but only a very small proportion contain economically exploitable sulfides; these tend to be of conduit or chonolith style. If prospectivity could be discriminated from sparse sampling at early exploration stages, then the discovery rate for deposits of this type could be improved. To this end, a number of pyroxene-bearing samples from small intrusions containing magmatic sulfide deposits have been investigated including the Noril'sk-Talnakh camp in Siberia, the Kotalahti nickel belt in Finland, Ntaka Hill in Tanzania, Nova-Bollinger in the Albany-Fraser Orogen of Australia, Savannah in the Halls Creek Orogen of Australia, Jinchuan in central China, Xiarihamu in Tibet and Huangshanxi in the east Tianshan Ni province of NW China. To compare, samples from unmineralized intrusions in four of these regions were also investigated along with four mafic intrusions from other localities that are not associated with any known economic sulfide mineralization. Using fine-scale (<5 μm/pixel) chemical imaging on the Australian Synchrotron, complex zoning in chromium was found in cumulate and poikilitic pyroxenes within the strongly mineralized intrusions. The zoning patterns can be separated into three distinct types: (1) abrupt zoning: a single change in trace element concentration with a sharp boundary; (2) sector zoning: hourglass style zonation; and (3) oscillatory zoning: small scale oscillations that are usually cyclic. Zoning of all three types can be present in a single grain. The presence of cumulus orthopyroxene with a combination of abrupt zoning, sector zoning and resorbed olivine inclusions has so far only been detected in mineralized intrusions. This combination of zoning patterns is postulated to be an indication of high magma flux and fluctuating cooling rates that accompany wall rock assimilation in dynamic conduits where sulfide liquid forms and accumulates. The distinctive zoning patterns reported here can, in many cases, be easily imaged using desktop microbeam XRF mapping techniques and may provide a useful fertility indicator for the exploration of new magmatic Ni-Cu-(PGE) deposits.