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Syngenetic gold in western Victoria: occurrence, age and dimensions


Wood, BL and Large, RR, Syngenetic gold in western Victoria: occurrence, age and dimensions, Australian Journal of Earth Sciences, 54, (5) pp. 711-732. ISSN 0812-0099 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/08120090701305244


In western Victoria, a widespread stratiform style of gold enrichment in Palaeozoic black mudstone and chertâ€"clearly different from the classic mesothermal quartz vein deposits of the Victorian goldfieldsâ€"has been confirmed by whole-rock geochemistry and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICPMS). This enrichment pre-dates compaction, deformation and low-grade metamorphism of the sedimentary host-rocks, and therefore possibly developed diagenetically during slow deposition of the thin carbonaceous black mudstone beds and the thinner layers of chert. These paired strata have been documented at many locations in three regional outcrop areas of chevron-folded Cambrian and Lower Ordovician metasediments in the Stawell and Bendigo Zones, where they are interbedded with quartz-rich turbidites. The layers were named ‘indicators’ by the early miners, who found locally rich nuggety gold deposits at intersections between these layers and mesothermal quartz veins. Gold is present in euhedral pyrite crystals in both black shale and chert. LA-ICPMS analysis of individual pyrite crystals in the indicator beds shows that pyrite is enriched in Au, As, Sb, Se, Te and Bi. The Au content of pyrite varies from 0.03 to 2.69ppm with a mean of 0.58ppm and shows a positive correlation with As, which varies from 1000 to 6000ppm. Many pyrite crystals show enrichment of gold in their cores and depletion in their rims, confirming the likely syngenetic or syndiagenetic accumulation of gold during pyrite formation in the sediments. Prior to regional metamorphism, folding and faulting, the many indicator strata in the outcrop areas were parts of an extensive marine sequence of Late Cambrian and Early Ordovician age. The former primary source of this mineralisation is considered to have been one or more contemporaneously exhalative submarine hydrothermal systems. Thus, the older Palaeozoic sediments of the western Lachlan Fold Belt were significantly enriched in syngenetic gold in the Early Palaeozoic, at least 40 million years before emplacement of the quartzâ€"gold vein deposits of the goldfields. © 2007 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Resource geoscience
Objective Division:Mineral Resources (Excl. Energy Resources)
Objective Group:Mineral exploration
Objective Field:Precious (noble) metal ore exploration
UTAS Author:Large, RR (Professor Ross Large)
ID Code:51646
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:18
Deposited By:Centre for Ore Deposit Research - CODES CoE
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2011-09-23

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