Fluid sources for the La Guitarra epithermal deposit (Temascaltepec district, Mexico): Volatile and helium isotope analyses in fluid inclusions

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Chemical Geology
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Jul 30
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The La Guitarra deposit (Temascaltepec district, South-Central Mexico), belongs to the low/intermediate sulfidation epithermal type, has a polymetallic character although it is currently being mined for Ag and Au. The mineralization shows a polyphasic character and formed through several stages and sub-stages (named I, IIA, IIB, IIC, IID, and III). The previous structural, mineralogical, fluid inclusion and stable isotope studies were used to constrain the selection of samples for volatile and helium isotope analyses portrayed in this study. The N-2/Ar overall range obtained from analytical runs on fluid inclusion volatiles, by means of Quadrupole Mass Spectrometry (QMS), is 0 to 2526, and it ranges 0 to 2526 for stage I, 0 to 1264 for stage IIA, 0 to 1369 for stage 1113, 11 to 2401 for stage IIC, 19 to 324 for stage IID, and 0 to 2526 for stage III. These values, combined with the CO2/CH4 ratios, and N-2-He-Ar and N-2-CH4-Ar relationships, suggest the occurrence of fluids from magmatic, crustal, and shallow meteoric sources in the forming epithermal vein deposit. The helium isotope analyses, obtained by means of Noble Gas Mass Spectrometry, display R/Ra average values between 0.5 and 2, pointing to the occurrence of mantle-derived helium that was relatively diluted or "contaminated" by crustal helium. These volatile analyses, when correlated with the stable isotope data from previous works and He isotope data, show the same distribution of data concerning sources for mineralizing fluids, especially those corresponding to magmatic and crustal sources. Thus, the overall geochemical data from mineralizing fluids are revealed as intrinsically consistent when compared to each other.The three main sources for mineralizing fluids (magmatic, and both deep and shallow meteoric fluids) are accountable at any scale, from stages of mineralization down to specific mineral associations. The volatile and helium isotope data obtained in this paper suggest that the precious metal-bearing mineral associations formed after hydrothermal pulses of predominantly oxidized magmatic fluids, and thus it is likely that precious metals were carried by fluids with such origin. Minerals from base-metal sulfide associations record both crustal and magmatic sources for mineralizing fluids, thus suggesting that base metals could be derived from deep leaching of crustal rocks. At the La Guitarra epithermal deposit there is no evidence for an evolution of mineralizing fluids towards any dominant source. Rather than that, volatile analyses in fluid inclusions suggest that this deposit formed as a pulsing hydrothermal system where each pulse or set of pulses accounts for different compositions of mineralizing fluids.The positive correlation between the relative content of magmatic fluids (high N-2/Ar ratios) and H2S suggests that the necessary sulfur to carry mostly gold as bisulfide complexes came essentially from magmatic sources. Chlorine necessary to carry silver and base metals was found to be abundant in inclusion fluids and although there is no evidence about its source, it is plausible that it may come from magmatic sources as well. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.


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DOI 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2006.02.002