Post-Metamorphic Gold-Quartz Veins from N.W. Italy: The Composition and Origin of the Ore Fluid

B. W. D. Yardley, D. A. Banks, S. H. Bottrell and L. W. Diamond
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, U.K.
Mineralogisch-petrographisches Institut, Universität Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland

Abstract: Multi-element crush-leach analysis of H2O-CO2 inclusion fluids from a suite of six vein samples from gold-quartz veins in the Brusson district demonstrates that their solute chemistry (c. 5 wt.% NaCl equivalent) is dominated by sodium chloride with lesser amounts of calcium bicarbonate, potassium chloride and sodium bicarbonate. The samples have been analysed both for gas species (CO2, H2O, N2 and H2S) and for Na, K, Li, Rb, Ca, Mg, Sr, Ba, Fe, Mn, Zn, Pb, Cu, Al, As, B, SO42−, F, Cl, Br and I. The fluids contain appreciable H2S (>10−3 molal), which correlates with the contents of As, CO2 and B. Concentrations of many cations remain similar irrespective of wall rock, but there is evidence of leaching of Li, and possibly I, from some wall rocks. Large variations in the K-content of the fluid may result from precipitation of sericite. The bicarbonate concentrations in the fluids, estimated from charge imbalance, are substantially less than their total CO2 content when trapped as single phase fluids, indicating a low pH. Sulphate : sulphide ratios suggest relatively reducing conditions, which is consistent with Fe concentrations significantly greater than Mn.

The gold-quartz veins formed as H2O-CO2 fluids of modest salinity and very uniform composition ascended from depth. Halogen ratios of the fluids are consistent with an ultimate origin for these fluids from deep-penetrating surface or connate waters although such a model requires extremely low fluid : rock ratios, to account for the hydrogen isotope composition of many similar deposits. There is as yet insufficient reference data to use halogen ratios as a rigorous test for the alternative model of an origin for the fluid by metamorphic devolatilisation.

Keywords: gold • quartz • fluid chemistry • fluid inclusions • Italy

Mineralogical Magazine; September 1993 v. 57; no. 388; p. 407-422; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1993.057.388.05
© 1993, The Mineralogical Society
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