Quantifying exhumation at the giant Pulang porphyry Cu-Au deposit using U-Pb-He dating
Leng, C-B and Cooke, DR and Hou, Z-Q and Evans, NJ and Zhang, X-C and Chen, WT and Danisik, M and McInnes, BIA and Yang, J-H, Quantifying exhumation at the giant Pulang porphyry Cu-Au deposit using U-Pb-He dating, Economic Geology and The Bulletin of The Society of Economic Geologists, 113, (5) pp. 1077-1092. ISSN 0361-0128 (2018) [Refereed Article]
The Triassic Pulang porphyry Cu-Au deposit, located in the South Yidun terrane, is the oldest and one of the largest porphyry deposits in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau. The mineralization occurs mostly in the potassic alteration zone of the Pulang intrusive complex. U-Pb-He triple dating, namely apatite (U-Th)/He, zircon U-Pb, and zircon (U-Th)/He dating, together with inverse thermal modeling, reveals that the Pulang complex was emplaced at a paleodepth of ˜5.0 to 6.5 km at 215 ± 2 Ma. The deep-level emplacement of the complex, coupled with the episodic replenishment of the magma chamber, gave rise to the establishment of a prolonged magmatic-hydrothermal system at Pulang. Although a range of single-grain zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He ages were obtained on each sample, the weighted mean zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He ages vary systematically with elevation, defining a multistage cooling/denudation history at Pulang. Specifically, three phases of cooling were recognized from inverse thermal modeling, including rapid cooling (80°–120°C/m.y.) in the Late Triassic, moderate cooling (3°–5°C/m.y.) from the Late Triassic to Early Cretaceous, and a protracted slow cooling period (50 m.y.) of extremely slow cooling and erosion at Pulang could be related to the formation and preservation of a peneplain on the southeastern Tibetan Plateau since the Late Cretaceous. A relict peneplain thus signifies a favorable tectonic environment for the preservation of ancient porphyry systems worldwide.