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Paleohydrologic evolution and geochemical dynamics of cumulative supergene metal enrichment at La Escondida, Atacama Desert, northern Chile

Economic Geology

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Abstract

Quantitative limonite mapping within the leached capping of the porphyry copper deposit at La Escondida, Chile, permits reconstruction of the paleohydrologic and chemical evolution of a well-developed supergene ore-forming system. The mineralogy, textures, and relative abundance of supergene limonite minerals (hematite, goethite, and jarosite) are used to reconstruct the former ratio of pyrite to chalcocite and the preoxidation copper grade based on empirical limonite sulfide correlations. Evidence for cumulative downward enrichment in vertical profiles through leached capping allows quantitative analysis of chemical mass balance in dynamic supergene systems. Slopes of linear regressions for profiles of reconstructed enriched copper grades vs. depth indicate lateral fluxes into or out of a given vertical profile. -from Authors

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Paleohydrologic evolution and geochemical dynamics of cumulative supergene metal enrichment at La Escondida, Atacama Desert, northern Chile
Series title:
Economic Geology
Volume
84
Issue:
2
Year Published:
1989
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Economic Geology
First page:
229
Last page:
255
Number of Pages:
27