The Setting and Characteristics of the Umuna Epithermal Gold-Silver Deposit, Misima Island, Papua New Guinea

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1997
A combination of new radiometric age dates, local field relationships and the regional tectonic history indicate that the low sulphidation, fault breccia-hosted, epithermal gold-silver mineralisation at Umuna is related to continental rifting processes rather than subduction induced deformation and magmatism. K-Ar and Ar-Ar age dating of secondary sericite associated with the gold-silver mineralisation indicates that the alteration crystallised between 4.0 and 3.2 Ma, whereas relative age relationships and SHRIMP II U-Pb dating of the abundant Boiou porphyry intrusions on Misima confirm that the calc-alkaline plutonism is significantly older (8.1 f 0.4 Ma) and related to a different tectonothermal event. The Woodlark Basin sea floor spreading centre occurs to the north of Misima and has continued to propagate westwards, into the continental basement of the Papuan Peninsular, since the end of the Miocene. The westernmost tip of sea floor spreading centre is presently to the east of the D'Entrecasteaux Islands but would have been to the east of Misima roughly 4 Ma. Many of the young tectonothermal features in the D'Entrecasteaux Islands (hydrothermal activity and associated epithermal mineralisation, metamorphic core complex exhumation, detachment faulting, peralkaline volcanism, half graben type basin formation) can be attributed to major extensional deformation ahead of the propagating rift system. Similar tectonothermal features on Misima are temporally associated with the epithermal gold-silver mineralisation at Umuna, suggesting that the D'Entrecasteaux Islands are a modern day tectonic analogue for Misima at the time of precious metal mobility and deposition. The rapid exhumation of high grade metamorphic rocks and localised
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