Gold and tin mineralisation in the ultramafic-hosted Cheoeum vent field, Central Indian Ridge SCIE SCOPUS

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Gold and tin mineralisation in the ultramafic-hosted Cheoeum vent field, Central Indian Ridge
Choi, Sun Ki; Pak, Sang Joon; Kim, Jonguk; Park, Jung-Woo; Son, Seung Kyu
KIOST Author(s)
Choi, Sun Ki(최선기)Kim, Jonguk(김종욱)Son, Seung Kyu(손승규)
Alternative Author(s)
최선기; 박상준; 김종욱; 손승규
Publication Year
The Cheoeum vent field (CVF) is the first example of an inactive ultramafic-hosted seafloor massive sulphide (SMS) deposit identified in the middle part of the Central Indian Ridge. Here, we report on the detailed mineralogy and geochemistry of ultramafic-hosted sulphide sample atop a chimney, together with a few small fragments. Hydrothermal chimneys are characterised by high concentrations of Au (up to 17.8 ppm) and Sn (up to 1720 ppm). The sulphide mineralisation in the CVF shows (1) early precipitation of anhedral sphalerite and pyrite-marcasite aggregates under relatively low-temperature (< 250 degrees C) fluid conditions; (2) intensive deposition of subhedral pyrrhotite, isocubanite, chalcopyrite, Fe-rich sphalerite (Sp-III), and electrum from high-temperature (250-365 degrees C) and reduced fluids in the main mineralisation stage; and (3) a seawater alteration stage distinguished by the mineral assemblage of marcasite pseudomorphs, altered isocubanite phase, covellite, amorphous silica, and Fe-oxyhydroxides. Electrum (< 2 mu m in size) is the principal form of Au mineralisation and is mainly associated with the main mineralisation stage. The consistently high fineness of electrum (801 to 909 parts per thousand) is indicative of the selective saturation of Au over Ag in the fluid during high-temperature mineralisation, which differs from the Au mineralisation associated with typical basaltic-hosted hydrothermal systems on mid-ocean ridges. Tin is mainly substituted in structures of sphalerite, isocubanite, and chalcopyrite as a solid solution, and not as mineral inclusions. The continuously ascending hydrothermal fluids enable the early formed Sn-bearing sulphide to be dissolved and reprecipitated, producing significantly Sn-enriched replacement boundaries between isocubanite and Sp-III. This study suggests that Au-Sn mineralisation could be facilitated by the low redox potential of ultramafic-hosted hydrothermal systems such as in the CVF, which may be a common occurrence along slow-spreading mid-ocean ridges.
Bibliographic Citation
MINERALIUM DEPOSITA, v.56, no.5, pp.885 - 906, 2021
Seafloor hydrothermal; Gold; Tin; Ultramafic-hosted mineralisation; Central Indian Ridge
Document Type
Article; Early Access
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