The role of porphyry-related skarns in the Chating porphyry copper and gold deposit, eastern China
Xiao, Q and Zhou, T and Hollings, P and Wang, SW and Liu, J and White, NC and Fu, B and Yuan, F, The role of porphyry-related skarns in the Chating porphyry copper and gold deposit, eastern China, Ore Geology Reviews, 133 Article 104096. ISSN 0169-1368 (2021) [Refereed Article]
The Chating deposit is a porphyry copper deposit in the Middle Lower Yangtze River Valley Metallogenic Belt, with skarns found in both the carbonate wall rock and in carbonate xenoliths in the intrusions. Detailed drill hole logging identified endoskarn and exoskarn in Chating, mainly distributed inside the ore–bearing quartz diorite porphyry instead of at the contact with the country rock. The skarns at Chating are unmineralized unless overprinted by porphyry related copper mineralization. Garnet in the Chating skarns can be divided into several types based on their occurrence and whether they were overprinted by porphyry mineralization. The garnets from the ore–bearing (G1a), barren endoskarn (G1b) and proximal ore–bearing exoskarn (G2a) are LREE-enriched, HREE–depleted with positive Eu anomalies whereas garnets from the barren massive exoskarn (G2b) are LREE-enriched with flat HREE and negative Eu anomalies. The G3 garnets are from marbleized skarn distal to the ore-bearing quartz diorite porphyry and consist of Al-rich and Fe-rich andradite; the Al–rich G3 garnets are LREE-depleted and HREE-enriched whereas the Fe-rich G3 garnets are LREE-enriched and HREE-depleted, both have negative Eu anomalies. The physicochemical conditions and composition of skarn-forming fluids controlled the REE, Eu, U and Y distribution in the garnets. The similarities of the REE patterns to those of magmatic–derived fluids suggests a dominantly magmatic fluid formed the endoskarn and proximal exoskarn. Fluid–rock interaction and addition of external fluids diluted the fluid that formed the exoskarn, decreasing the Cl and metal contents, resulting in lower REE contents and negative Eu anomalies in G2b and G3 garnets. The δ34S data for anhydrite from potassic alteration, sericite alteration, endoskarn and exoskarn range from 3.51‰ to 10.92‰, consistent with a dominantly magmatic fluid source. The δ34S for the anhydrite from the skarns ranges from 3.51‰ to 8.74‰, which combined with the absence of coeval sulfides, suggests a very high oxygen fugacity for the skarn-forming fluids. The small-scale skarns in Chating contain more anhydrite than garnet and consequently did not act as ground preparation as they do in typical skarn deposits. We propose that the anhydrite-rich exoskarn and the small scale of the endoskarn, combined with the high oxygen fugacity and low Cl content in the skarn-forming fluids resulted in the barren skarns of the Chating deposit.
Chating porphyry deposit, Garnet geochemistry, Anhydrite, S isotope, Skarn