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Styles, textural evolution, and sulfur isotope systematics of Cu-rich sulfides from the Cambrian Whalesback volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit, central Newfoundland, Canada


Cloutier, J and Piercey, SJ and Layne, G and Heslop, J and Hussey, A and Piercey, G, Styles, textural evolution, and sulfur isotope systematics of Cu-rich sulfides from the Cambrian Whalesback volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit, central Newfoundland, Canada, Economic Geology, 110, (5) pp. 1215-1234. ISSN 0361-0128 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 Society of Economic Geologists, Inc.

DOI: doi:10.2113/econgeo.110.5.1215


The Whalesback Cu-rich volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit in the Newfoundland Appalachians is a highly deformed deposit found on a steep limb of a closed and boudinaged overturned fold. The deposit was intensely deformed at low temperature but medium pressure (>175 MPa) during the accretion of the composite Lushs Bight oceanic tract-Dashwoods terrane onto the Humber margin at ca. 480 Ma.

The ore mineralogy consists of chalcopyrite, pyrrhotite, and pyrite with lesser sphalerite and trace Ag, Bi, and Hg tellurides. Four styles of sulfide mineralization are present: (1) disseminated (5%); (2) vein (50%); (3) breccia (25%); and (4) semimassive to massive (20%). Independent of mineralization style, massive pyrite and pyrrhotite (and some chalcopyrite) are commonly parallel to main S2 schistosity in the deposit, whereas late chalcopyrite piercement veins occur at a high angle to S2. The progressive increase in pressure and temperature produced a remobilization sequence wherein sphalerite was the first sulfide phase to cross the brittle-ductile boundary, followed by pyrrhotite and, finally, chalcopyrite. Maximum temperature was not high enough for the pyrite to cross the brittle-ductile boundary. Instead, pyrite grains were incorporated and transported by pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite during the ductile remobilization events, rounding and fracturing them. Remobilization of the sulfides occurred mainly by plastic flow, but some solution transport and reprecipitation is locally observed.

In situ secondary ion mass spectrometry sulfur isotope geochemistry of sulfides yielded values of δ34S ranging from 2.7‰ to 4.7‰ for pyrite, 2.1‰ to 4.0‰ for pyrrhotite, and 1.3‰ to 4.7‰ for chalcopyrite. Sulfur isotope modeling suggests that at least 60% of the sulfur was derived from leaching of igneous rocks (i.e., basalts), with the remainder derived from thermochemical sulfate reduction of seawater sulfate during alteration of the basalts by seawater. At the deposit scale, sulfur isotopes retained their original signature and did not reequilibrate during the secondary deformation and remobilization events.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:basalt, deposits, exploratory geochemistry, igneous rocks, iron ores, isotopes, mass spectrometry, mineralogy, minerals, ores, pyrites, seawater, secondary ion mass spectrometry, sulfur, sulfur deposits, tellurium compounds, temperature, volcanoes
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Resource geoscience
Objective Division:Mineral Resources (Excl. Energy Resources)
Objective Group:Mineral exploration
Objective Field:Copper ore exploration
UTAS Author:Cloutier, J (Mr Jonathan Cloutier)
ID Code:133523
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:CODES ARC
Deposited On:2019-06-29
Last Modified:2020-04-07
Downloads:19 View Download Statistics

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