Late-Hercynian Intrusion-related gold deposits: an integrated model on the Tighza polymetallic district, central Morocco

Abstract : Late-Hercynian Intrusion-related gold deposits: an integrated model on the Tighza polymetallic district, central Morocco, African Earth Sciences (2015), doi: http://dx.Gold have been recently recognized in the Tighza (formerly Jebel Aouam) district, in the Hercynian belt of central Morocco. This district has long been known for its W mineralization, as well as major Pb-Ag-Zn, and minor Sb-Ba deposits, all geographically associated with late-Hercynian calc-alkaline magmatism. Gold mineralization in the district is mainly hosted by thick W-Au quartz veins located around the “Mine granite” small granitic plug. Within the veins, gold grade is highest (up to 70 g/t) close to the granite but rapidly decreases going outward from the granite, defining a perigranitic zoning. Anomalous gold grades have also been measured in hydrothermal skarn layers close to two other granitic plugs (Kaolin granite and Mispickel granite), associated with disseminated As-Fe sulfides. The paragenetic sequence for the W-Au quartz veins shows three stages: 1) an early oxidized stage with wolframite-scheelite associated with early quartz (Q1), 2) an intermediate Bi-As-Te-Mo-Au sulfide stage with loellingite, bismuth minerals and native gold with a later quartz (Q2), restricted to a narrow distance from the granite, and 3) a late lower temperature As-Cu-Zn–(Pb) stage with abundant massive pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite and sphalerite, locally forming independent veins (“pyrrhotite vein”). Both Q1 hyaline and Q2 saccharoidal gold-bearing quartz display aqua-carbonic fluids with minor H2S and Cu and an homogeneous composition (81 mole% H2O, 18 mole% CO2 and about 1 mole% NaCl). The trapping pressure is estimated to 1.5 to 2 kbar with temperature ranging from 300° to 350°C. Q1 inclusions have exploded indicating an uplift of the Tighza block, that lead to saccharoidal Q2 quartz deposition with multiphase NaCl-saturated fluid inclusions. 40Ar/39Ar dating demonstrates that the “Mine granite”, tungsten skarnoid, scheelite-molybdenite veins, and very likely gold-bearing veins are coeval, emplaced at 286 ± 1 Ma. Multiple and widespread metal sources are indicated by radiogenic isotope studies. Nd and Sr isotope compositions of scheelite and granites suggest the participation of a juvenile component while lead isotopes demonstrate a major participation of the basement. Both gold mineralization and zoning suggest that the system developed at the end of the magmatic activity, accompanying a major transition in magmatic fluid composition. The morphology of the gold-bearing mineralization is dependent of the permeability and the reactivity of host-rocks: focus circulation of fluids through pre-existing tectonic corridors, reactivated by late-Hercynian intrusions favor the formation of large W-type gold veins, while infiltration of fluid within reactive stratigraphic layers gives rise to skarn mineralization. A 40Ar/39Ar date (W1 north vein: 291.8 ± 0.3 Ma) indicates that hydrothermal circulation predates gold and tungsten deposition in open fractures as well as Mine granite emplacement. The W-Au mineralization preceded the onset of a large convective hydrothermal cell around the intrusion that led to the formation of the Pb-Ag-Zn mined veins. The Tighza polymetallic district displays numerous similarities with the R-IRG model that was defined in the American Cordillera, such as thermal and zonation patterns, carbonic hydrothermal fluids and chronology of intrusion and related deposits, but also provides new insight to the R-IRG model such as wide Au-quartz veins instead of sheeted Au-veins, oxidation state of the magma, and Sr-Nd isotopic data. These results establish a major magmatic contribution and discard a direct genetic relationship between gold mineralization and major neighboring Pb-Ag-Zn veins. A large number of classic Pb-Zn district of the Western Hercynides belong to the same clan.
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Eric Marcoux, Khadija Nerci, Yannick Branquet, Claire Ramboz, Gilles Ruffet, et al.. Late-Hercynian Intrusion-related gold deposits: an integrated model on the Tighza polymetallic district, central Morocco. Journal of African Earth Sciences, Elsevier, 2015, 107, pp.65-88. ⟨10.1016/j.jafrearsci.2015.01.011⟩. ⟨insu-01117246⟩

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