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Carbonates at the supergiant Olympic Dam Cu-U-Au-Ag deposit, South Australia. Part 1: Distribution, textures, associations and stable isotope (C, O) signatures


Apukhtina, OB and Ehrig, K and Kamenetsky, VS and Kamenetsky, MB and Goemann, K and Maas, R and McPhie, J and Cook, NJ and Ciobanu, CL, Carbonates at the supergiant Olympic Dam Cu-U-Au-Ag deposit, South Australia. Part 1: Distribution, textures, associations and stable isotope (C, O) signatures, Ore Geology Reviews, 126 Article 103775. ISSN 0169-1368 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2020.103775


The supergiant Olympic Dam Cu-U-Au-Ag deposit in South Australia is a type example of the iron-oxide copper–gold (IOCG) deposit family. Hosted entirely within heterogeneous breccia in 1.59 Ga granite, the deposit contains a volumetrically substantial and mineralogically diverse component of carbonate minerals. Carbonate minerals are always associated with ore minerals (sulfides, uraninite), implying a genetic relationship and providing an opportunity to use gangue carbonates to better understand ore formation. This study provides the first detailed and comprehensive petrographic and chemical/isotopic study of Olympic Dam carbonates, with a particular emphasis on petrography and texture, and an attempt is made to relate carbonate formation to local and regional events that have affected Olympic Dam.

Based on a set of 196 carbonate-bearing samples, carbonate minerals are observed in all lithologies present at Olympic Dam. Carbonates occur as cement in breccia and conglomerates, as breccia clasts, in veins crosscutting ore-rich breccia and other rock types, in pores and ooids, and in the form of laminated carbonate. Siderite and siderite-rhodochrosite-magnesite solid solution are by far the most common carbonate types, whereas calcite, dolomite-ankerite solid solution and REE-fluorocarbonates are locally abundant. Single carbonate grains typically show compositional zones (simple or oscillatory) and replacement textures (including mutual replacement of carbonates with other carbonates and with hematite) are common. In the absence of consistent, deposit-wide paragenetic relationships, the carbonates were placed in seven associations based on host rock, mineralogy and texture: (1) coarse-grained calcite veins in weakly brecciated granite and rhyolite, (2) carbonates in strongly brecciated granite, (3) carbonate veins in bedded clastic facies, (4) carbonates in mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks, (5) massive barite-fluorite-dominated veins with minor carbonate, (6) laminated siderite, and (7) carbonate matrix in conglomerate-breccia-sandstone above the unconformity. Some of these associations can be related to regional tectonic events based on local context and relationships with dated assemblages. δ13C (-6.5‰ to -2‰) values for the carbonates show a relatively limited range whereas δ18O is more variable (+9.4‰ to + 20.9‰). C-O isotopic compositions for the various carbonate associations tend to overlap, suggestive of mixed fluid sources, recycling of older carbonate and perhaps other fractionation processes. The C-O isotope data overlap the compositional fields of several major carbon–oxygen reservoirs (magmatic, sedimentary) and carbon sources in local granite, felsic volcanics, older BIF and sedimentary rocks are all possible at different stages of carbonate deposition.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:IOCG deposits, Olympic Dam, carbonate minerals, siderite, stable isotopes
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geochemistry
Research Field:Isotope geochemistry
Objective Division:Mineral Resources (Excl. Energy Resources)
Objective Group:Mineral exploration
Objective Field:Mineral exploration not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Apukhtina, OB (Miss Olga Apukhtina)
UTAS Author:Kamenetsky, VS (Professor Vadim Kamenetsky)
UTAS Author:Kamenetsky, MB (Dr Maya Kamenetsky)
UTAS Author:Goemann, K (Dr Karsten Goemann)
UTAS Author:McPhie, J (Professor Jocelyn McPhie)
ID Code:143474
Year Published:2020 (online first 2018)
Deposited By:CODES ARC
Deposited On:2021-03-19
Last Modified:2021-09-01

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