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Volcanic stratigraphy, alteration zoning, and vein paragenesis of the Sascha-Pelligrini low-sulphidation epithermal system, Santa Cruz, Argentina

Smith, Quinn Eric (2009) Volcanic stratigraphy, alteration zoning, and vein paragenesis of the Sascha-Pelligrini low-sulphidation epithermal system, Santa Cruz, Argentina. .

Abstract

The Sascha-Pelligrini low-sulphidation epithermal system is located on the western edge of the Deseado Massif, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Outcrop sampling has returned values of up to 160g/t gold and 796g/t silver, with Mirasol Resources and Coeur D.Alene Mines currently exploring the property. Detailed mapping of the volcanic stratigraphy has defined three units that comprise the middle Jurassic Chon Aike Formation and two units that comprise the upper Jurassic La Matilde Formation. The Chon Aike Formation consists of rhyodacite ignimbrites and tuffs, with the La Matilde Formation including rhyolite ash and lithic tuffs. The volcanic sequence is intruded by a large flow-banded rhyolite dome, with small, spatially restricted granodiorite dykes and sills cropping out across the study area. ASTER multispectral mineral mapping, combined with PIMA (Portable Infrared Mineral Analyser) and XRD (X-ray diffraction) analysis defines an alteration pattern that zones from laumontite-montmorillonite, to illite-pyritechlorite, followed by a quartz-illite-smectite-pyrite-adularia vein selvage. Supergene kaolinite and steam-heated acid-sulphate kaolinite-alunite-opal alteration horizons crop out along the Sascha Vein trend and Pelligrini respectively. Paragenetically, epithermal veining varies from chalcedonic to saccharoidal with minor bladed textures, colloform/crustiform-banded with visible electrum and acanthite, crustiform-banded grey chalcedonic to jasperoidal with fine pyrite, and crystalline comb quartz. Geothermometry of mineralised veins constrains formation temperatures from 174.8 to 205.1¡ÆC and correlates with the stability field for the interstratified illite-smectite vein selvage. Vein morphology, mineralogy and associated alteration are controlled by host rock rheology, permeability, and depth of the palaeo-water table. Mineralisation within ginguro banded veins resulted from fluctuating fluid pH associated with selenide-rich magmatic pulses, pressure release boiling and wall-rock silicate buffering. The study of the Sascha-Pelligrini epithermal system will form the basis for a deposit-specific model helping to clarify the current understanding of epithermal deposits, and may serve as a template for exploration of similar epithermal deposits throughout Santa Cruz.

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ID Code: 39142
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Gust, David
Keywords: Epithermal, low-sulphidation, gold-silver, vein paragenesis, Deseado Massif, Chon Aike, Santa Cruz, Argentina
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 10 Dec 2010 12:47
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 06:00

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