Timing of orogenic gold mineralisation in northeastern Tasmania: implications for the tectonic and metallogenetic evolution of Palaeozoic SE Australia
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Bierlein, FP and Foster, DA and Gray, DR and Davidson, GJ, Timing of orogenic gold mineralisation in northeastern Tasmania: implications for the tectonic and metallogenetic evolution of Palaeozoic SE Australia, Mineralium Deposita, 39, (8) pp. 890-903. ISSN 0026-4598 (2005) [Refereed Article]
New 40Ar/39Ar data from sedimentary rock-hosted orogenic gold deposits in northeastern Tasmania constrain most ore formation to between 395 Ma and 385 Ma. These 385-395 Ma ages for the formation of orogenic gold agree well with an inferred Early to Middle Devonian timing for peak deformation and folding across much of northeastern Tasmania. Data from micas within alteration halos in some deposits give dates of ∼420-430 Ma; these dates confirm the occurrence of an earlier Silurian phase of deformation and suggest that at least some of the mineralisation was possibly generated during this event. Gold mineralisation hosted by Middle Devonian post-tectonic granites may be genetically related to magmatism following orogeny, but these deposits formed virtually synchronously with peak deformation- related systems. Early to Middle Devonian deformation in northeastern Tasmania also reactivated older structures in western Tasmania, and the formation of quartz vein-hosted gold mineralisation there. Based on geological, structural, tectonic and metallogenetic similarities, northeastern Tasmania is interpreted as a lateral equivalent of the turbidite-dominated fold-thrust belt of the western Lachlan Orogen. However, unlike Victoria, where the sedimentary rock sequence developed on oceanic crust, northeastern Tasmania was probably underlain by thinned Proterozoic crust, either as part of a promontory along the Gondwana margin or as a microcontinental fragment. This may have 'protected' the Palaeozoic succession from large-scale, pre-Devonian orogeny, with collision not beginning until the Middle Devonian. These variations in the structural and tectonic evolution, and the timing of deformation and ore formation can explain the difference in contained gold, and the distribution and number of major orogenic gold deposits within the Palaeozoic of northeastern Tasmania. © Springer-Verlag 2005.
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