A Comparative Review of Mineral Deposits and Metallogenesis in Outer Melanesia and Northern Chile

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Obvious differences in mineral deposit types occurring in Outer Melanesia and Northern Chile can be related to the sub- marine-dominated nature of volcanism in the' former area and the subaerial-dominated nature in the latter area. Subtle variations in subvolcanic epithermal-porphyry ore systems between the two areas probably result from differing ore fluid compositions. Hydrother- mal convection cells in Outer Melanesia will be seawater-dominated, consequently rela- tively high salinities and chlorine contents will characterise the ore solutions. Trans- portation of metals as chloride complexes is likely and the ease of seawater sulphate reduction to sulphide in the ore systems will lead to widespread, sparse dissemination of sulphide minerals. Relatively low grade por- phyry copper deposits will typify these ore systems. In Northern Chile hydrothermal convection cells will usually be dominated by meteoric waters. Consequently ore fluid salinities are likely to be lower and chlorine will be less abundant. Under these circum- stances transport of ore metals as bisulphide complexes could be important. Boiling and loss of H2S gas from these fluids would lead to rapid precipitation of metals and higher grade deposits. Erosion rate is a very important factor in the preservation of ore deposits and this may be the major control on the richness of a metallogenic province. The abundance of mineral deposits in the El Salvador region of Northern Chile compared to Fiji is probably a function of the much lower rates of erosion in the former area.
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