Noble gas data from Goldfield and Tonopah epithermal Au-Ag deposits, ancestral Cascades Arc, USA: Evidence for a primitive mantle volatile source

Ore Geology Reviews
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Abstract

The He, Ne, and Ar isotopic composition of fluid inclusions in ore and gangue minerals were analyzed to determine the source of volatiles in the high-grade Goldfield and Tonopah epithermal Au-Ag deposits in southwestern Nevada, USA. Ar and Ne are mainly atmospheric, whereas He has only a minor atmospheric component. Corrected 3He/4He ratios (with atmospheric He removed) range widely from 0.05 to 35.8 times the air 3He/4He ratio (RA), with a median of 1.43 RA. Forty-one percent of measured 3He/4He ratios are ≥4 RA, corresponding to ≥50% mantle He assuming a mantle ratio of 8 RA. These results suggest that mafic magmas were part of the magmatic-hydrothermal system underlying Goldfield and Tonopah, and that associated mantle-sourced volatiles may have played a role in ore formation. The three highest corrected 3He/4He ratios of 17.0, 23.7, and 35.8 RAindicate a primitive mantle He source and are the highest yet reported for any epithermal-porphyry system and for the Cascades arc region. Compiled 3He/4He measurements from epithermal-porphyry systems in subduction-related magmatic arcs around the world (n = 209) display a statistically significant correlation between 3He/4He and Au-Ag grade. The correlation suggests that conditions which promote higher fluid inclusion 3He/4He ratios (abundance of mantle volatiles and focused upward volatile transport) have some relation to conditions that promote higher Au-Ag grades (focused flow of metal-bearing fluids and efficient chemical traps). Results of this and previous investigations of He isotopes in epithermal-porphyry systems are consistent with the hypothesis posed in recent studies that mafic magmas serve an important function in the formation of these deposits.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Noble gas data from Goldfield and Tonopah epithermal Au-Ag deposits, ancestral Cascades Arc, USA: Evidence for a primitive mantle volatile source
Series title Ore Geology Reviews
DOI 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2017.06.023
Volume 89
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center
Description 18 p.
First page 683
Last page 700
Country United States
Other Geospatial Cascades Arc