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A genetic link between magnetite mineralization and diorite intrusion at the El Romeral iron oxide-apatite deposit, northern Chile

Rojas, P.A., Barra, F., Reich, M., Deditius, A., Simon, A., Uribe, F., Romero, R. and Rojo, M. (2018) A genetic link between magnetite mineralization and diorite intrusion at the El Romeral iron oxide-apatite deposit, northern Chile. Mineralium Deposita . In Press.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-017-0777-x
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Abstract

El Romeral is one of the largest iron oxide-apatite (IOA) deposits in the Coastal Cordillera of northern Chile. The Cerro Principal magnetite ore body at El Romeral comprises massive magnetite intergrown with actinolite, with minor apatite, scapolite, and sulfides (pyrite ± chalcopyrite). Several generations of magnetite were identified by using a combination of optical and electron microscopy techniques. The main mineralization event is represented by zoned magnetite grains with inclusion-rich cores and inclusion-poor rims, which form the massive magnetite ore body. This main magnetite stage was followed by two late hydrothermal events that are represented by magnetite veinlets that crosscut the massive ore body and by disseminated magnetite in the andesite host rock and in the Romeral diorite. The sulfur stable isotope signature of the late hydrothermal sulfides indicates a magmatic origin for sulfur (δ34S between − 0.8 and 2.9‰), in agreement with previous δ34S data reported for other Chilean IOA and iron oxide-copper-gold deposits. New 40Ar/39Ar dating of actinolite associated with the main magnetite ore stage yielded ages of ca. 128 Ma, concordant within error with a U-Pb zircon age for the Romeral diorite (129.0 ± 0.9 Ma; mean square weighted deviation = 1.9, n = 28). The late hydrothermal magnetite-biotite mineralization is constrained at ca. 118 Ma by 40Ar/39Ar dating of secondary biotite. This potassic alteration is about 10 Ma younger than the main mineralization episode, and it may be related to post-mineralization dikes that crosscut and remobilize Fe from the main magnetite ore body. These data reveal a clear genetic association between magnetite ore formation, sulfide mineralization, and the diorite intrusion at El Romeral (at ~ 129 Ma), followed by a late and more restricted stage of hydrothermal alteration associated with the emplacement of post-ore dikes at ca. 118 Ma. Therefore, this new evidence supports a magmatic-hydrothermal model for the formation of IOA deposits in the Chilean Iron Belt, where the magnetite mineralization was sourced from intermediate magmas during the first Andean stage. In contrast, the beginning of the second Andean stage is characterized by shallow subduction and a compressive regime, which is represented in the district by the emplacement of the Punta de Piedra granite-granodiorite batholith (100 Ma) and marks the end of iron oxide-apatite deposit formation in the area.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Engineering and Information Technology
Publisher: Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright: © 2018 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/40029
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