Origin of the copper-cobalt deposits of the Zambian copperbelt: an epigenetic view from Nchanga

McGowan, R.R., Roberts, S., Foster, R.P., Boyce, A.J. and Coller, D. (2003) Origin of the copper-cobalt deposits of the Zambian copperbelt: an epigenetic view from Nchanga. Geology, 31(6), pp. 497-500. (doi: 10.1130/0091-7613(2003)031<0497:OOTCDO>2.0.CO;2)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/0091-7613(2003)031<0497:OOTCDO>2.0.CO;2


The Zambian Copperbelt is arguably the most significantly mineralized Neoproterozoic basin on Earth, preserving a truly spectacular scale of mineralization: in excess of 1 X 10(9) t of ore at similar to2.7% copper has been extracted to date, and there are also major cobalt accumulations. The origin of these deposits has been hotly debated for more than six decades, yet the driving forces that generated this system are poorly understood, in particular the relationships between tectonics, palleo-fluid circulation, and ore deposition. We present new field and isotopic data for the Nchanga deposits in which the bulk of the mineralization is hosted by shale-capped feldspathic arenites and arkoses that have undergone recrystallization and hydrothermal alteration within a host- rock package controlled by low-angle thrust faults. By using in situ laser combustion, we show for the first time that the range of delta(34)S for copper-cobalt ore sulfides (-1parts per thousand to + 18parts per thousand) cannot have the same source as diagenetic pyrite (-1parts per thousand to - 17parts per thousand). We suggest a new epigenetic model for the formation of these spectacular Nchanga orebodies that involves the introduction of metal- and sulfate-bearing hydrothermal fluids into quartzofeldspathic units during basin inversion, with sulfide derived from thermochemical reduction of the sulfate near the site of deposition.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boyce, Professor Adrian
Authors: McGowan, R.R., Roberts, S., Foster, R.P., Boyce, A.J., and Coller, D.
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Geology

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