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Effects of magmatic volatile influx in mafic VMS hydrothermal systems: evidence from the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-10-25, 13:56 authored by A Martin, M Keith, D Parvaz, I McDonald, A Boyce, K McFall, G Jenkin, H Strauss, C MacLeod
The Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus is the principal on- land analogue for mafic-hosted volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits. This study, for the first time, presents sulfur isotope (δ34S) data on a regional scale from VMS deposits and other mineralised zones across the Troodos ophiolite. In combination δ34S, Se/S ratios and trace element chemistry (e.g., Se, Cu and Au) of different hydrothermal sulfides are used to assess variations in magmatic volatile influx and the source of metals and sulfur in ancient hydrothermal systems.

Sulfur isotope analyses (n = 180) across 19 mineral deposits indicate a variable source of sulfur in the Troodos VMS hydrothermal system, this in turn allows a variable source of metals to be inferred. Pyrite δ34S range from −5.5‰ to +13.2‰ with an average of +4.6‰ (n = 160) for all deposits investigated. These δ34S variations cannot only be explained by variable proportions of thermochemical seawater sulfate reduction (δ34S +18 to +19‰) and leaching of primary magmatic sulfur from igneous rocks (δ34S 0-1‰). Consequently, two processes are proposed, explaining the trace metal and δ34S variation across the Troodos ore-forming systems including, i) a variable source of metals in the sheeted dyke complex and ii) the addition of a magmatic volatile-rich phase to the VMS hydrothermal systems.

Two distinct lava units exist in the Troodos stratigraphy, namely the upper and lower pillow lavas (UPL and LPL). The more primitive UPL are enriched in Au, Se and Cu relative to As, Sb and Zn that are concentrated in the LPL. Some VMS deposits pre-date the formation of the UPL (e.g., Agrokipia A) suggesting Se, Cu and Au depleted source rocks. Hence, the stratigraphic position of VMS deposits and the ratio of UPL:LPL affinity elements (e.g., As + Zn + Sb vs. Cu + Se + Au) imply a systematic relationship between trace element distribution and stratigraphic depth; this relates to the relative proportion of UPL and LPL affinity lavas within the metal source region.

δ34S values <0‰ recorded in some VMS deposits that are less than the Troodos magmatic mean of 0- 1‰ may be related to anhydrite buffering during fluid ascent, microbial sulfate reduction or the direct contribution of magmatically derived sulfur, to the hydrothermal system from an underlying magma chamber via volatile exsolution. We propose that negative δ34S values combined with Se/S 106 ratios >500 in pyrite suggest the contribution of a magmatic volatile component (e.g., Apliki and Skouriotissa). We demonstrate that the source of metals and sulfur in the Troodos VMS hydrothermal system is affected by regional scale processes related to i) variable source lithologies and, ii) the contribution of a magmatic volatile phase to some Troodos VMS hydrothermal systems.



Chemical Geology, Volume 531, 5 January 2020, 119325

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/School of Geography, Geology and the Environment


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Chemical Geology




Elsevier for European Association of Geochemistry



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