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Petrography and geochemistry of the Shilu Fe-Co-Cu ore district, South China: implications for the origin of Neoproterozoic BIF system


Xu, DR and Wang, ZL and Chen, HY and Hollings, P and Jansen, NH and Zhang, ZC and Wu, CJ, Petrography and geochemistry of the Shilu Fe-Co-Cu ore district, South China: implications for the origin of Neoproterozoic BIF system, Ore Geology Reviews, 57 pp. 322-350. ISSN 0169-1368 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2013 Elsevier B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.oregeorev.2013.08.011


The Shilu Fe–Co–Cu ore district is situated in the western Hainan Province of south China. This district consists of the upper Fe-rich layers and the lower Co–Cu ores, which are mainly hosted within the Neoproterozoic Shilu Group, a dominantly submarine siliciclastic and carbonate sedimentary succession that generally has been metamorphosed to greenschist facies. Three facies of metamorphosed BIFs, the oxide, the silicate–oxide and the sulfide–carbonate–silicate, have been identified within the Shilu Group. The oxide banded iron formation (BIF) facies (quartz itabirites or Fe-rich ores) consists of alternating hematite-rich and quartz-rich microbands. The silicate–oxide BIF facies (amphibolitic itabirites or Fe-poor ores) comprises alternating millimeter to tens of meter scale, magnetite–hematite-rich bands with calc-silicate-rich macro- to microbands. The sulfide–carbonate–silicate BIF facies (Co–Cu ores) contain alternating cobaltiferous pyrite, cobaltiferous pyrrhotite and chalcopyrite macrobands to microbands mainly with dolomite–calcite, but also with minor sericite–quartz bands. Blasto-oolitic, pelletoidal, colloidal, psammitic, and cryptocrystalline to microcrystalline textures, and blasto-bedding structures, which likely represent primary sedimentation, are often observed in the Shilu BIF facies.

The Shilu BIFs and interbedded host rocks are generally characterized by relatively low but variable ∑ REE concentrations, LREE depletion and/or MREE enrichment relative to HREE, and no Ce, Gd and Eu anomalies to strongly positive Ce, Gd and Eu anomalies in the upward-convex PAAS-normalized REY patterns, except for both the banded or impure dolostones with nil Ce anomaly to negative Ce anomalies and negative La anomalies, and the minor sulfide–carbonate–silicate BIF facies with moderately negative Eu anomalies. They also contain relatively low but variable HFSE abundances as Zr, Nb, Hf, Th and Ti, and relatively high but variable abundances of Cu, Co, Ni, Pb, As, Mn and Ba. The consistently negative εNd(t) values range from − 4.8 to − 8.5, with a TDM age of ca. 2.0 Ga. In line with the covariations between Al2O3 and TiO2, Fe2O3 + FeO and SiO2, Mn and Fe, Zr and Y/Ho and REE, and Sc and LREE, the geochemical and Sm–Nd isotopic features suggest that the precursors to the Shilu BIFs formed from a source dominated by seafloor-derived, high- to low temperature, acidic and reducing hydrothermal fluids but with variable input of detrital components in a seawater environment. Moreover, the involved detrital materials were sourced dominantly from an unknown, Paleoproterozoic or older crust, with lesser involvement from the Paleo- to Mesoproterozoic Baoban Group underlying the Shilu Group.

The Shilu BIFs of various facies are interpreted to have formed in a shallow marine, restricted or sheltered basin near the rifted continental margin most likely associated with the break-up of Rodinia as the result of mantle superplume activity in South China. The seafloor-derived, periodically upwelling metalliferous hydrothermal plume/vent fluids under anoxic but sulfidic to anoxic but Fe2 +-rich conditions were removed from the plume/vent and accumulated in the basin, and then variably mixed with terrigenous detrital components, which finally led to rhythmic deposition of the Shilu BIFs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:metamorphosed Neoproterozoic BIFs, source areas, restricted or sheltered marine basin near the rifted continental margin, Shilu Fe-Co-Cu ore district, Hainan Province, South China
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Geology
Research Field:Resource geoscience
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Jansen, NH (Dr Nic Jansen)
ID Code:98615
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:36
Deposited By:Centre for Ore Deposit Research - CODES CoE
Deposited On:2015-02-20
Last Modified:2017-10-30

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