Gold-bearing vein formation in the Mother Lode belt of the study area apparently occurred during the Early Cretaceous between 127 and 108 m.y. B.P. The hydrothermal fluids that carried the gold precipitated quartz and mariposite at approx 320oC, similar to the T of precipitation of gold-bearing quartz veins in the Allegheny district. The O- and H-isotopic composition calculated for the fluid indicate that it was similar to formation water or was metamorphic in origin. If the carbonate in the veins was in isotopic equilibrium with this same fluid, it apparently precipitated at a higher T of approx 400oC. The Sr in the carbonate is much less radiogenic than that in any known marine carbonate, but is similar in isotopic composition to that in metamorphosed mafic volcanic rocks of the general region. These mafic rocks could have been the source for the Sr in the hydrothermal veins. This observation supports the contention that the gold-mariposite-quartz-carbonate rocks were formed as an alteration product of serpentinite and other mafic igneous rocks.-A.P.
Additional publication details
Isotopic studies of mariposite-bearing rocks from the south- central Mother Lode, California.