Newly synthesized data indicate that the geochemistry of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits varies extensively and continuously from subalkaline basaltic to rhyolitic compositions. Trace element and isotopic data for these rocks are consistent with subduction-related magmatism and suggest that the primary source magmas were generated by partial melting of the mantle-wedge above subducting oceanic slabs. Broad geochemical and petrographic diversity of individual igneous rock units associated with epithermal deposits indicate that the associated magmas evolved by open-system processes. Following migration to shallow crustal reservoirs, these magmas evolved by assimilation, recharge, and partial homogenization; these processes contribute to arc magmatism worldwide.
Although epithermal deposits with the largest Au and Ag production are associated with felsic to intermediate composition igneous rocks, demonstrable relationships between magmas having any particular composition and epithermal deposit genesis are completely absent because the composition of igneous rock units associated with epithermal deposits ranges from basalt to rhyolite. Consequently, igneous rock compositions do not constitute effective exploration criteria with respect to identification of terranes prospective for epithermal deposit formation. However, the close spatial and temporal association of igneous rocks and epithermal deposits does suggest a mutual genetic relationship. Igneous systems likely contribute heat and some of the fluids and metals involved in epithermal deposit formation. Accordingly, deposit formation requires optimization of source metal contents, appropriate fluid compositions and characteristics, structural features conducive to hydrothermal fluid flow and confinement, and receptive host rocks, but not magmas with special compositional characteristics.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Geochemical characteristics of igneous rocks associated with epithermal mineral deposits—A review|
|Series title||Ore Geology Reviews|
|Contributing office(s)||Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|