Studies of the sulfur isotopic composition of ore and gangue minerals from the Silesian-Cracow Zn-Pb district were conducted to gain insights into processes that controlled the location and distribution of the ore deposits. Results of this study show that minerals from the Silesian-Cracow ore district have the largest range of sulfur isotope compositions in sulfides observed from any Mississippi Valley-type ore district in the world. The ??34S values for sulfide minerals range from +38 to -32 per mil for the entire paragenetic sequence but individual stages exhibit smaller ranges. There is a well developed correlation between the sulfur isotope composition and paragenetic stage of ore deposition. The first important ore stage contains mostly positive ??34S values, around 5 per mil. The second stage of ore formation are lower, with a median value of around -5 to -15 per mil, and with some values as low as -32 per mil. Late stage barite contains isotopically heavy sulfur around +32 per mil. The range in sulfur isotope compositions can be explained by contributions of sulfur from a variety of source rocks together with sulfur isotope fractionations produced by the reaction paths for sulfate reduction. Much of the variation in sulfur isotope compositions can be explained by bacterial reduction of sedimentary sulfate and disequilibrium reactions by intermediate-valency sulfur species, especially in the late-stage pyrite and sphalerite. Organic reduction of sulfate and thermal release of sulfur from coals in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin may have been important contributors to sulfur in the ore minerals. The sulfur isotopic data, ore mineral textures, and fluid inclusion data, are consistent with the hypothesis that fluid mixing was the dominant ore forming mechanism. The rather distinct lowering of ?? 34S values in sulfides from stage 2 to stage 3 is believed to reflect some fundamental change in the source of reduced sulfur and/or hydrology of the ore-forming environment. A change in the hydrology of the ore forming environment could be accomplished by extensional faulting that was coeval with ore formation. Late stage barite contains high values of ??34S which may reflect the final collapse of the hydrothermal system.
Additional publication details
Sulfur isotope geochemistry of ore and gangue minerals from the Silesian-Cracow Mississippi Valley-type ore district, Poland