Reconnaissance geologic study of the Vazante zinc district, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Open-File Report 77-630




The Vazante district, Minas Gerais, 130 km south of Paracatu, produces nearly all of Brazil's zinc metal. The district is situated on the western side of the Late Precambrian Bambul basin and along the eastern and leading edge of the north-trending Brazilian orogenic belt (ca. 600-500 m.y. old) that borders the western margin of the basin. Reconnaissance study indicates that bedding and low-angle thrust faulting, folding, and low-grade metamorphism dominated the structural development of the district. The structural trend within the district is northeasterly, and dips 20?-45 ? NW. Three sets of folds developed during the main period of eastward thrusting of older Precambrian rocks over the western margin of the Bambui basin. A fourth fold set is transverse to the regional trend. The rocks in the district are tentatively assigned to the Paraopeba Formation of the Bambui Group and are designated A through C in ascending order. Unit A is phyllite to phyllitic siltstone. Unit B consists of interbedded dolomitic limestone and marl-limestone. Irregularly distributed limestone ledges 20 to 100 m thick have the appearance of boudins. Their origin is attributed to a combination of rapid lateral facies changes and differential movement at different structural levels along bedding and low-angle thrust faults, with the formation of tear faults vertically limited by the thrust faults. Unit C consists of interbedded siltstone, dolomitic limestone, and sandstone. Phyllitic rocks along member interfaces in units B and C and at the base of unit C indicate differential penetrative deformation and bedding faulting. The contacts between units A, B, and C are interpreted to be low-angle or bedding faults, and their original stratigraphic positions with respect to each other is unknown. Zinc silicate minerals (hemimorphite and willemite) occur in a folded breccia zone in the lower part of unit B. The breccia zone is interpreted to be tectonic in origin, having formed along the step of a step-bedding-plane fault during the Brazilian orogeny. The zinc is probably syngenetic, and ore deposition in the breccia may have occurred during Brazilian time. Broad uplift and deep weathering of the region took place during late Mesozoic and Cenozoic time. Reserves may be as high as 3 million tons of zinc metal.

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Reconnaissance geologic study of the Vazante zinc district, Minas Gerais, Brazil
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
ii, 28 p. :ill. (1 fold. in envelope), maps (1 fold. in envelope) ;28 cm.