Copper, Gold and Subduction: A Trans-Pacific Perspective

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
Rajor intrusion-related Cu and Au dep- osits along the Cordilleran-type central Andean margin and in the western Pacific island arcs constitute a series of discrete, linear belts which correspond to limited (414 m.y.) metall- ogenic epochs. The most important metallogenic belts, all of Cenozoic age, are inferred to have been generated during relatively shallow subduction of oceanic lithosphere beneath con- vergent margins. Geological and isotopic evid- ence suggests that magmatic rocks and associated Cu and Au mineralization were derived from asthenospheric mantle sources, which were enriched in a variety of elements (metals, alkalis, S) by dehydration of subducting oceanic crust. Where exceptionally rapid, low-angle 3ubduction took place beneath very thick (>50 km) continental crust, as in the central Andean Altiplano in the Miocene and southwestern North America during the Laramide, ore-related magmas underwent wholesale crustal contamination. However, the associated Cu-Au mineralization is the same as that developed in primitive island- arc crust. In particular, the by-product Au and So contents of porphyry Cu deposits are inde- pendent of crustal thickness and the degree of crustal contamination as determined isotopic- Ally.
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