New thermochronologic constraints on the evolution of the Zaldivar porphyry copper deposit, Northern Chile

Campos, E.; Wijbrans, J; Andriessen, PAM


Life spans and thermal evolution of hydrothermal systems are of fundamental metallogenic importance. We were able to establish the chronology and cooling history of the Zaldívar porphyry copper deposit (Northern Chile) by applying a combination of different isotopic dating methods in minerals with different closure temperatures, including 40Ar/39Ar geochronology and zircon fission track thermochronology, together with fluid inclusion thermometry and previous published U-Pb zircon geochronology. The hydrothermal mineralization in the Zaldívar deposit is genetically related to the Llamo Porphyry unit. Samples of igneous biotites from this intrusion yielded 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages between 35.5±0.7 and 37.7±0.4 Ma defining a weighted average of 36.6±0.5 Ma (2s). In contrast, one sample from the Zaldívar porphyry, one from the andesites, and two from the Llamo porphyry yielded considerably younger fission track ages of approximately 29 Ma with a weighted mean for all ages of 29.1±1.7 Ma (2s). Thermal and compositional constraints for the hydrothermal system in the Zaldívar deposit from fluid inclusions thermometry show that at least three fluid types broadly characterize two main hydrothermal episodes during the evolution of the deposit. The main mineralization and alteration event is characterized by high temperature (above 320°C) hypersaline fluids (salinity between 30 and 56 wt.% NaCl equivalents) coexisting with low-density gas-rich inclusions (salinity less than 17 wt.% NaCl equivalents) that homogenizing into the gas phase at temperatures above 350°C. The second episode corresponds to a low-temperature event which is characterized by liquid-rich fluid inclusions that homogenize into the liquid phase at temperatures ranging from 200°C to 300°C with salinities lower than 10 wt.% NaCl equivalents. The 40 Ar/39Ar data (36.6±0.5 Ma, weighted average) obtained from igneous biotites represent the minimum age for the last high-temperature (above 300°C) hydrothermal pulse. When compared with previously published U-Pb ages (38.7±1.3 Ma) in zircons from the Llamo porphyry, a close temporal relationship between crystallization of the parental intrusion and the thermal collapse of the last high-temperature hydrothermal event is evident. Cooling took place from approximately 800°C (crystallization of the intrusive complex defined by zircon U-Pb ages) to below 300±50°C (biotite 40Ar/39Ar closure temperature) within approximately 1.5 m.y. Because the thermal annealing of fission tracks in zircons occurs at temperatures of 240±30°, the zircon fission track (ZFT) ages of 29.1±1.7 Ma (2s) mark the end of the thermal activity in the Zaldívar area, specifically the time when the whole area cooled below this temperature, well after the collapse of the main hydrothermal event in the Zaldívar porphyry copper deposit. This cooling age roughly coincides with the age defined for the emplacement of dacitic dikes at 31±2.8 Ma (2s) (published K-Ar whole rock), 5 km south of the Zaldívar deposit, in the Escondida area. This late magmatic pulse probably is responsible for high heat flow in the Zaldívar deposit as late as 29 Ma. There is no evidence that the low temperature hydrothermal pulse recognized by fluid inclusion studies is related to this thermal event. The zircon fission track cooling ages are interpreted to be related to the time lag required for complete relaxation of the perturbation of the isotherms in the geothermal field imposed by the intrusion of magmatic bodies, with or without any association with low temperature hydrothermal activity. © Springer-Verlag 2008.

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Título según WOS: New thermochronologic constraints on the evolution of the Zaldivar porphyry copper deposit, Northern Chile
Título según SCOPUS: New thermochronologic constraints on the evolution of the Zaldívar porphyry copper deposit, Northern Chile
Título de la Revista: MINERALIUM DEPOSITA
Volumen: 44
Número: 3
Editorial: Springer
Fecha de publicación: 2009
Página de inicio: 329
Página final: 342
Idioma: English