Strata-bound sulfide deposits, wall-rock alteration, and associated tin-bearing minerals in the Carolina slate belt, South Carolina and Georgia

Economic Geology



Massive sulfide deposits, gold deposits, and tin-bearing minerals occur in rocks of the Carolina slate belt in South Carolina and adjacent Georgia. The belt of greenschist metamorphic rocks in which the ore deposits occur is mostly Cambrian in age. It is divided into an upper metasedimentary unit and a lower unit of predominantly felsic metavolcanic and metavolcaniclastic rocks. The ore deposits occur in the lower unit chiefly near the contact between the two units. The rocks have been deformed into two maior sets of coaxial folds and at least two minor deformations. Coarse-grained unmetamorphosed Carboniferous, I-type granites, and abundant Triassic-Jurassic diabase dikes cut the slate belt and appear largely unrelated to the ore deposits. Remnants of Cretaceous and younger sedimentary rocks overlie the crystalline rocks near several of the larger mineralized areas.Massive sulfides, largely pyrite, and some polymetallic sulfides occur in mines opened for gold in the nineteenth century. The largest of these in South Carolina are the Haile, Brewer, and Dorn mines. These mines and the Little Mountain and Cedar Creek-Blythewood areas have many similar lithologic characteristics. These are: hydrothermally altered wall-rock consisting of quartz-sericite-kaolinite schist and quartz-sericite schist; abundant aluminous silicates such as kyanite, andalusite, pyrophyllite, and topaz; zones of iron-enriched rocks; and a suite of resistant heavy minerals that includes tin-bearing minerals. Heavy mineral concentrates from alluvium of small streams showed 20,000 ppm tin. Cassiterite and nigerite have been identified.At the Brewer mine, gold has been produced from altered felsic volcanic rocks that contain silicified breccia, massive topaz, abundant pyrite, minor enargite, and probably cassiterite. Massive pyrite and gold have been mined at the Haile mine. In the McCormick-Lincolnton area, a near-surface granitoid pluton is thought to be the source for volcaniclastic rocks that contain polymetallic massive sulfide deposits, gold, and associated deposits of kyanite, barite, and manganese. Tin was found there in heavy mineral concentrates, and rutile occurring with kyanite contains 1,000 ppm tin. At Little Mountain, cassiterite and hematite are present in rocks considered to be metamorphosed hot spring deposits. In the Cedar Creek-Blythewood area, nigerite is present, together with cassiterite, chrysoberyl, and seventeen other heavy minerals in concentrates panned from alluvium in streams draining an area of quartz-sericite-kaolinite schist.The deposition of massive sulfides, gold, and tin minerals is considered to be part of a continuum of volcanic activity that included alteration, deformation, and metamorphism. Altered rocks, which host the ore deposits, result from superimposed processes beginning with alteration syngenetic with the massive sulfides and ending with fracture-controlled alteration.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Strata-bound sulfide deposits, wall-rock alteration, and associated tin-bearing minerals in the Carolina slate belt, South Carolina and Georgia
Series title Economic Geology
DOI 10.2113/gsecongeo.77.2.294
Volume 77
Year Published 1982
Language English
Publisher Society of Economic Geologists
Description 18 p.
First page 294
Last page 311
Country United States
State South Carolina
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