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The fluorine link between a supergiant ore deposit and a silicic large igneous province


McPhie, J and Kamenetsky, V and Allen, S and Ehrig, K and Agangi, A and Bath, A, The fluorine link between a supergiant ore deposit and a silicic large igneous province, Geology (Boulder), 39, (11) pp. 1003-1006. ISSN 0091-7613 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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© 2011 Geological Society of America. Geological Society of America, P.O. Box 9140, Boulder, CO 80301-9140 USA (

DOI: doi:10.1130/G32205.1


Olympic Dam is a supergiant Fe oxide Cu-U-Au-Ag ore deposit (~9 × 109 t) that is also enriched in rare earth elements (REEs) and fluorine (F). The immediate host to the ore is hydrothermal breccia within granite and volcanic rocks of a Mesoproterozoic silicic large igneous province. Analyses of melt inclusions in quartz phenocrysts in rhyolite show that the silicic magmas of this province were unusually rich in F (up to 1.3 wt%). Fluorite and other F-rich minerals that crystallized from these magmas provided a gigantic reservoir of F. As a result, the Olympic Dam ore-forming fluid was F-rich and had exceptional capacity to transport diverse elements. Further, we infer that hydrofluoric acid, the most corrosive acid known, contributed to hydrothermal breccia formation by dissolution that in turn increased permeability and accelerated the rate of fluid-rock interaction. It is no accident that the world’s largest hydrothermal ore deposit occurs in an F-rich silicic large igneous province.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Olympic Dam, supergiant ore deposit, igneous province, fluorine, hydrofluoric acid
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:McPhie, J (Professor Jocelyn McPhie)
UTAS Author:Kamenetsky, V (Professor Vadim Kamenetsky)
UTAS Author:Allen, S (Dr Sharon Allen)
UTAS Author:Agangi, A (Mr Andrea Agangi)
UTAS Author:Bath, A (Mr Adam Bath)
ID Code:74075
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:58
Deposited By:Centre for Ore Deposit Research - CODES CoE
Deposited On:2011-11-10
Last Modified:2017-10-30
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