Metamorphic Features in Appalachian Massive Sulphides*

James R. Craig
Department of Geological Sciences, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
*Invited contribution.

Abstract: Massive stratiform and stratabound sulphide bodies in the central Appalachians exhibit a wide variety of metamorphic features which are typical of similar deposits world-wide. The ores occur as lens- to plate-like bodies which are concordant with the enclosing meta-sediments and volcanics and are interpreted as products of Late Precambrian to Early Palaeozoic submarine volcanism. Sulphide mineralization ranges from pyritic to pyrrhotinic bodies with variable, but Zn- and Cu-dominant, base-metal contents. The deposits have been subjected to metamorphism ranging from greenschist to amphibolite grade. The metamorphism has been pervasive and has resulted in thorough recrystallization of most ores and intense deformation of pyrrhotinic ores, but does not appear to have significantly altered original sulphide assemblages. Recrystallization has homogenized most sulphide minerals including pyrite and sphalerite, so that any original compositional zoning is no longer seen. The presence of chalcopyrite has apparently promoted an increase in grain size and has facilitated post-metamorphic retrograde re-equilibration. Consequently, sphalerite geobarometry is not reliable in Cu-bearing assemblages. Pyrrhotines, mostly hexagonal, have re-equilibrated to low temperatures but commonly display pressure twins and kink-banding, apparently due to the late stages of deformation. Characteristic mineralogical changes in the host rocks include changes in the abundance of minerals, changes in the Fe: Mg ratios, and the presence of gahnite.

Mineralogical Magazine; December 1983 v. 47; no. 345; p. 515-525; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1983.047.345.13
© 1983, The Mineralogical Society
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