Gold Provenance in Placers from Pureo Area, Southern Chile Coastal Cordillera, and Their Relationship with Paleozoic Metamorphic Rocks

Becerra, Pablo; Sanchez-Alfaro, Pablo A.; Piquer, Jose; Plissart, Gaelle; Garroz, Belén; Kunstmann, Daniela


Southern Chile placer gold deposits have been known and exploited since Spanish colonial times. Despite this, precise knowledge about their origin is scarce. This work aims to identify possible primary sources of the gold in the Pureo placers by studying the morphological and chemical characteristics of gold particles according to their spatial distribution. The former was determined by measurements and classification under a binocular microscope, allowing us to acquire a set of parameters related to the amount of transport that had affected the samples. The microchemical characteristics were determined by studying gold particles using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and electron microprobe (EMPA), where the native gold composition (in terms of major and minor elements) and the suite of mineral inclusions were obtained. The results regarding morphological characteristics suggest a low amount of transport from a primary source (<15 km). Microchemical data from gold particles indicate two compositional sub-populations, distinguished in both native gold composition (<15 Ag wt% with up to 4 Hg wt% and >15 Ag wt% with Hg bellow 1 wt%) and mineral inclusions (pyrite-galena rich and arsenopyrite rich, respectively), indicating two different primary gold sources. These results suggest a local origin of gold in the Coastal Cordillera, where the possible primary sources are associated with (i) massive sulfide deposits present in Paleozoic-Triassic metamorphic rocks and (ii) hydrothermal deposits associated with more recent Cenozoic intrusive activity. These conclusions have implications for the exploration of new placer deposits and of gold-bearing hypogene deposits (e.g., metamorphosed VMS deposits) in unexplored zones of southern Chile Coastal Cordillera.

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Título según WOS: ID WOS:000859877800001 Not found in local WOS DB
Título según SCOPUS: ID SCOPUS_ID:85138744829 Not found in local SCOPUS DB
Título de la Revista: MINERALS
Volumen: 12
Editorial: MDPI
Fecha de publicación: 2022