eCite Digital Repository

The lithogeochemical signatures of hydrothermal alteration in the Waihi epithermal district, New Zealand


Barker, SLL and Hood, S and Hughes, RM and Richards, S, The lithogeochemical signatures of hydrothermal alteration in the Waihi epithermal district, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 62, (4) pp. 513-530. ISSN 0028-8306 (2019) [Refereed Article]

PDF (author version - OA)

Copyright Statement

© 2019 The Royal Society of New Zealand. This is an original manuscript / preprint of an article published by Taylor & Francis in New Zealand journal of geology and geophysics on 29 August 2019, available online:

DOI: doi:10.1080/00288306.2019.1651345


Whole rock lithogeochemical data from the andesite rocks which host low-sulfidation epithermal gold veins in the Waihi district, New Zealand have been used to interpret hydrothermal alteration processes that variably altered the andesite rocks. The andesite host rocks are interpreted to have similar primary chemical compositions throughout the Waihi area, as reflected in similar ratios of immobile elements (eg Zr, Ti and other high field strength elements). The geochemical data reveal that elevated K/Al ratios occur in rocks proximal to low-Au–Ag deposits, reflecting adularia alteration in the host rocks associated with the upflowing hydrothermal fluids. Silicification of host rocks is achieved both by the addition of SiO2, as well as the destruction of plagioclase (reflected in the loss of CaO and Na2O). The rocks have been variably altered, with calcite and pyrite abundance reflecting the addition of carbon and sulphur. Pathfinder element (eg As, Sb) concentrations are variable across the district, with high pathfinder element concentrations interpreted to reflect proximity to hydrothermal fluid flow. Together, the results provide a district-scale overview of hydrothermal alteration at Waihi, and emphasise the utility of lithogeochemistry for classifying and quantifying hydrothermal alteration that can then be used to interpret hydrothermal processes and assist mineral exploration.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:exploration geochemistry, lithogeochemistry, epithermal, alteration, mineralogy, pathfinder elements, Waihi, New Zealand
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geochemistry
Research Field:Exploration geochemistry
Objective Division:Mineral Resources (Excl. Energy Resources)
Objective Group:Mineral exploration
Objective Field:Precious (noble) metal ore exploration
UTAS Author:Barker, SLL (Dr Shaun Barker)
UTAS Author:Hood, S (Mr Shawn Hood)
ID Code:135650
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:CODES ARC
Deposited On:2019-11-06
Last Modified:2020-08-19
Downloads:10 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page