A rapid change in magma plumbing taps porphyry copper deposit-forming magmas

Carter, Lawrence C.; Tapster, Simon R.; Williamson, Ben J.; Buret, Yannick; Selby, David; Rollinson, Gavyn K.; Millar, Ian; Parvaz, Daniel B.. 2022 A rapid change in magma plumbing taps porphyry copper deposit-forming magmas. Scientific Reports, 12 (1), 17272.

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Porphyry-type deposits are a vital source of green technology metals such as copper and molybdenum. They typically form in subduction-related settings from large, long-lived magmatic systems. The most widely accepted model for their formation requires that mantle-derived magmas undergo an increase in volatiles and ore-forming constituents in mid- to lower crustal reservoirs over millions of years, however, this is mostly based on observations from shallow, sporadically exposed parts of porphyry systems. To examine this paradigm, we have evaluated the timeframe and geochemical signatures of magmatism in a ~ 8 km palaeodepth cross-section through plutonic and volcanic rocks of the classic Yerington magmatic system, Nevada. We show that the magmas in the upper parts of the system (< 8 km) underwent a major and rapid change in chemistry over a period of < 200 kyrs that is coincident with the initiation of ore formation. We attribute this change to a shift from extraction of quartz monzodiorite and quartz monzonite magmas evolving in mid-crustal reservoirs, and that had relatively poor ore-forming potential, to extraction of volatile-rich granitic magmas from greater (~ 30 km) depths. As the granites crystallised, late stage melts were intruded through the carapace as aplite dykes which contain traceable expressions of the porphyry deposit-forming fluids. The rapid nature of the shift in ore-forming potential narrows the temporal-geochemical footprint of magmas associated with porphyry mineralisation and provides new constraints for exploration models.

Item Type: Publication - Article
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ISSN: 2045-2322
Date made live: 18 Nov 2022 15:53 +0 (UTC)

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