Nature and Evolution of Metamorphic Fluids Associated with Turbidite-Hosted Gold Deposits: Hill End Goldfield, NSW, Australia

P. K. Seccombe, J. Lu, A. S. Andrew, B. L. Gulson and K. J. Mizon
Department of Geology, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia
Division of Exploration Geoscience, CSIRO, PO Box 136, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia

Abstract: The Hill goldfield, NSW, Australia, is an example of a syntectonic, slate-belt gold deposit formed in a multiply deformed, Late Silurian slate-metagreywacke turbidite sequence. Gold is confined to bedding-parallel veins and discordant leader veins composed of as many as four generations of quartz, accompanied by phyllosilicates, carbonates and minor sulphides. Vein formation and gold deposition was apparently synchronous with Early Carboniferous metamorphism and deformation. Homogenisation temperatures (Th) for fluid inclusions in vein quartz demonstrate five groupings in the temperature intervals 350–280°C, 280–250°C, 250–190°C, 190–150°C, and 150–110°C, corresponding to a variety of primary and secondary inclusions developed during four periods of vein quartz deposition under a generally declining temperature regime. Inclusion fluids are characterised by a low salinity of around 0.1 to 3.6 wt.% NaCl equivalent. The dominant gas phase present in the inclusion fluids varies from N2 in the early stages of the paragenesis, through CH4 during the main episode of gold deposition, to CO2-rich fluids associated with late-stage mineralisation. δ18O values for vein quartz (range 15.1–17.1‰) and vein carbonate (range 11.3–13.4‰) are typical of metamorphic mineralisation. δD composition of hydrous minerals and inclusion fluids (range −53 to −138‰) suggest an influx of meteoric water in the later mineralising fluids. This conclusion is supported by δ13C data for vein calcite (range −2.5 to −9.7‰). δ34S composition of vein pyrrhotite and pyrite ranges from 6.9 to 7.8‰ early in the paragenesis, to lighter values (around 4.2 to 5.8‰) accompanying late gold deposition from more oxidising fluids. Sulphur isotope data imply a sulphur source from underlying turbidites and an increase in fluid oxidation state during mineralisation. Lead isotope measurements on vein pyrite, arsenopyrite, galena and gold are characterised by two isotope populations with 207Pb/206Pb ratios of 0.862 and 0.860, which define two discrete mineralising events during vein formation. Consistency between data from vein minerals and lead isotope signatures for potential source rocks indicate that lead was derived from the sedimentary pile.

Keywords: fluid inclusions • stable isotopes • lead isotopes • gold • metamorphic fluids • Australia

Mineralogical Magazine; September 1993 v. 57; no. 388; p. 423-436; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1993.057.388.06
© 1993, The Mineralogical Society
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