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The La Bellière gold and antimony district (French Armorican Massif): a two-stage evolution model controlled by Variscan strike-slip tectonic

Abstract : The La Bellière gold district, in the Ligerian domain of the Armorican Massif is the third one of France in term of production. It shows gold-bearing quartz veins neighboring with a complex network of Sb veins, hosted in the Neoproterozoic metasedimentary basement of the Mauges Nappe. New structural data, mineralogical, textural and geochemical assays have been carried out to clarify the gold and Sb veins relationships. Our results favor of two-step hydrothermal event with an early deep-seated gold event followed by a late shallower Sb event. The gold-bearing quartz veins are hosted by N60°E to N90°E sinistral strike-slip faults. These veins exhibit a four-stage paragenesis: 1) early barren quartz filling, 2) arsenopyrite-pyrite with minor scheelite assemblage, 3) gold and base metal sulfides crystallized after a ductile/brittle deformation stage, and 4) pyrite-carbonate coeval with a late brittle stage. These results support a continuous evolution model from a deep emplacement level (12 to 9 km) to a shallow one (7 to < 5 km) with a brutal change in the P/T conditions that triggered the deposition of gold (stage 2) controlled by a seismic-valve mechanism. On the contrary, Sb veins correspond to open space vein types, hosted in a N20°W to N20°E conjugated strike-slip fault network arranged in a Riedel shear model, controlled by N130-140°E regional dextral strike-slip shear zone associated to the South Armorican Shear Zone system. A two-stage evolution is recognized, the first one consists of early pyrite-arsenopyrite with microcrystalline quartz, followed by a late stibnite stage formed after geodic quartz deposition. Quartz texture argues for a shallow emplacement (< 5 km) of veins controlled by a suction-pump mechanism. Chronologically, the gold vein opening complies with a NE-SW maximum shortening direction different from the late-Variscan stress field responsible for the dextral Armorican shear zone during late Carboniferous, and constrains an indirect dating. Thus, a Visean age is proposed for the formation of gold veins. The overall features of gold deposits are close to those of mesozonal orogenic gold deposits in Europe. Conversely, Sb-bearing veins are generated by a N-S shortening during the late Carboniferous. The Sb event, distinct in time from the earlier gold one, might correspond to a different expression of the so-called “epizonal” type in the orogenic gold model. It is proposed that the Late Carboniferous “Or 300” event is not the unique metallogenic period for gold deposition in the French Variscan domain. Our study highlights the role of the sinistral strike-slip shearing of possible Visean age, in the gold metallogenesis of the Ligerian domain.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 23, 2020 - 9:47:35 AM
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Florent Cheval-Garabédian, Michel Faure, Eric Marcoux, Jérôme Gouin, Maxime Picault. The La Bellière gold and antimony district (French Armorican Massif): a two-stage evolution model controlled by Variscan strike-slip tectonic. Ore Geology Reviews, Elsevier, 2020, 125, 103681 (25 p.). ⟨10.1016/j.oregeorev.2020.103681⟩. ⟨insu-02905083⟩

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