Published and unpublished data on 2575 fluid inclusions in ore and gangue minerals from the Creede, Colorado, Ag-Pb-Zn-Cu vein deposit collected in our laboratories from 1959 to 1981 have shown that the average salinity (wt. % NaCl equivalent, hereinafter termed wt.% eq.) and homogenization temperature (Th), and the ranges of these two parameters for fluid inclusions in sphalerite, quartz, fluorite, and rhodochrosite, respectively, are 8.1 (4.6 - 13.4), 239?C (195-274?C); 6.1 (1.1-10.0), 260?C (190->400?C); 10.7 (6.1-11.1), 217?C (213-229?C) and 260?C (247-268?C) (bimodal distribution of Th); and 9.9 (9.3 - 10.6), 214?C (185-249?C). Inclusions have been measured in minerals from four of the five stages of mineralization previously recognized at Creede. The few inclusions of fluids depositing rhodochrosite (A-stage, earliest in the paragenesis) yield Th and salinity values more similar to those of the low-temperature (average Th 217?C) fluids forming some of the much later fluorite (C-stage) than to any of the other fluids. Th measurements on A-stage quartz range from 192?C to 263?C and average 237?C. The early, fine-grained, B-stage sphalerites yielded Th of 214 to 241?C and salinities of 6.1 to 10.2 wt. % eq.
D-stage sphalerite (late in the paragenesis) has been studied in detail (growth-zone by growth-zone) for several localities along the OH vein and reveals a generally positive correlation among Th, salinity and iron content of the host sphalerite. The deposition of D-stage sphalerite was characterized by repeated cycling through different regions of salinity/Th space, as Th and salinity generally decreased with time. Seventeen salinity-Th measurements were made on D-stage sphalerite from one locality on the Bulldog Mountain vein system, which, like the OH vein, is one of four major ore-producing vein systems at Creede. These data suggest a lower Th for a given salinity fluid from sphalerite on the Bulldog Mountain vein than on the OH vein. The very high values of Th for some quartz samples (mostly D-stage) are believed to be a result of the trapping of both gas and liquid from a boiling fluid in the upper levels of the vein system. Boiling of fluids depositing D-stage quartz is indicated by the presence of steam inclusions in quartz and the extreme variability of Th values measured on quartz. The pressure was low (< 125 kg/cm 2) throughout ore deposition.
Three major growth zones in D-stage sphalerite are recognized throughout the OH vein. Deposition of the first major zone began from fluids having intermediate salinities and temperatures (7.8-9.2 wt. % eq., 240?C) but the characteristics of the fluids oscillated after that, ranging from 7.2 to 10.1 wt. % eq. and from 225?C to 270?C. Deposition of the second major, most Fe-rich zone began with the hottest, most saline fluids present during D-stage mineralization (. 270?C, 10.5-12.5 wt. % eq., 3 mole % FeS in sphalerite). The fluid then oscillated with respect to Th and salinity (213-274?C, 5.2-12.5 wt. % eq.) but showed a general decrease in both with time. Deposition of the youngest major zone began with a very Fe-poor sphalerite (0.25-0.75 mole % FeS), from the least saline, coolest fluids (5-6.5 wt. % eq., 200-212?C) and ended with a trend of increasing temperature at approximately constant salinity.
The fluid-inclusion data can best be explained by a mixing model involving at least two fluids--one hot and saline, the other cool and fresher. Sudden changes in the mixing ratio, presumably from changes in the plumbing, punctuated long periods of remarkably uniform conditions of ore fluid flow and deposition. The effects of other processes such as convection and heat exchange with wall rocks must have been superimposed on this simple mixing model, however. In contrast to an earlier interpretation, several aspects of the inclusion data may be interpreted to suggest exceedingly slow ore deposition. Work in progress may resolve some of these ambiguities and refine
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Fluid-inclusion data on samples from Creede, Colorado, in relation to mineral paragenesis