Metallogenic Belts of the Central Andes

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The metallogenic belts of the Central Andes (iron, porphyry copper, polymetallic and tin) are genetically related to an eastward migrating magmatic arc. The polymetallic belt of the Bolivian Altiplano formed during Miocene arc broadening and lies in a critical position for understanding the genesis of this zonation. It is penecontemporaneous with parts of the copper and tin belts, and shares many characteristics with them. The differences between the belts result from contrasting volcanic and feeder stock geometry, depth of erosion and country rocks, and are not due to variations in magma chemistry, age or Benioff Zone depth. Polymetallic mineralisation in the Altiplano is epithermal in style and mostly related to flow-dome volcanism. The intermontane basinal setting precludes deep erosion to expose the epizonal feeder stocks and predicted porphyry copper mineralisation. In contrast, erosion of the less abundant stratovolcanoes of the Altiplano-Puna and Pampean Massif may expose contemporaneous Miocene porphyry copper mineralisation in subvolcanic stocks. The tin belt is coincident with the Paleozoic fold belt of the Eastern Cordillera. The occurrence of minor tin in Altiplano epithermal deposits hosted by Paleozoic sediments, and the persistence of tin mineralisation in the tin belt over 350Ma, suggests that Paleozoic sediments are the source of the tin.
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