Table_1_Unraveling the Effects of Melt–Mantle Interactions on the Gold Fertility of Magmas.DOCX (1 MB)
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Table_1_Unraveling the Effects of Melt–Mantle Interactions on the Gold Fertility of Magmas.DOCX

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posted on 11.02.2020, 04:17 authored by Santiago Tassara, Martin Reich, Brian A. Konecke, José María González-Jiménez, Adam C. Simon, Diego Morata, Fernando Barra, Adrian Fiege, Manuel E. Schilling, Alexandre Corgne

The oxidation state of the Earth’s mantle and its partial melting products exert a key control on the behavior and distribution of sulfur and chalcophile and siderophile elements between the mantle and crust, underpinning models of ore deposit formation. Whether the oxidized nature of magmas is inherited from the asthenospheric mantle source or acquired during ascent and differentiation is vigorously debated, limiting our understanding of the mechanisms of extraction of sulfur and metals from the mantle. Here, we focused on the redox-sensitive behavior of sulfur in apatite crystallized from quenched alkaline basaltic melts preserved within a peridotite xenolith from the El Deseado Massif auriferous province in southern Patagonia. We took advantage of this unique setting to elucidate the redox evolution of melts during their ascent through the subcontinental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) and grasp the inner workings of the Earth’s mantle during gold metallogenesis. Our data reveal that an initially reduced silicate melt (ΔFMQ −2.2 to −1.2) was oxidized to ΔFMQ between 0 and 1.2 during percolation and interaction with the surrounding peridotite wall-rock (ΔFMQ 0 to +0.8). This process triggered changes in sulfur speciation and solubility in the silicate melt, boosting the potential of the melt to scavenge ore metals such as gold. We suggest that large redox gradients resulting from the interaction between ascending melts and the surrounding mantle can potentially modify the oxidation state of primitive melts and enhance their metallogenic fertility. Among other factors including an enriched metal source and favorable geodynamic conditions, redox gradients in the mantle may exert a first-order control on the global-scale localization of crustal provinces endowed with gold deposits.