Internal structures and dating of non-sulphide Zn deposits 5 using rock magnetism: insights from the Moroccan High Atlas

Abstract : The renewal of interest in Zn-Pb non-sulphide ores has been induced by mineral processing improvement and leads to new exploration and mining projects in the world. Although the mineralogy is often precisely known, and despite several studies linking ore deposition to regional tectonics, absolute dating of non-sulphide stages is rare and structure of ore bodies was largely disregarded. Geochronological data from non-sulphide ores are essential to timely constrain alteration episodes and to insert supergene ore genesis in the climate and tectonic evolution of the metallogenic province. The access to internal organization of ore could reveal post-mineralization episodes related to supergene evolution. Thus, a rock magnetism study combining anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) and palaeomagnetism was performed on four non-sulphide deposits from the Moroccan High Atlas. AMS generally shows similar horizontal magnetic fabrics for ores and the clayey and carbonaceous internal sediments filling karstic cavities. The palaeomagnetic directions of ores and internal sediments are compatible, and the calculated poles are consistent with the last 30 Ma of the Africa apparent polar wander path, with an upper age at 0.78 Ma. The proposed three-step scenario is placed within the evolution of the Moroccan High Atlas belt. Deposition of primary sulphides is contemporaneous with opening of the Tethyan and Atlantic oceans. During the Tertiary, intracontinental deformation gave rise to the High Atlas fold-and-thrust belt and to regional uplift. Finally, Zn-Pb sulphides hosted in carbonates experienced oxidation under an arid climate to form karst-related Zn-Pb non-sulphide ores. These promising results pave the way for an efficient method to constrain the internal fabrics and age of Zn supergene deposits.
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Nicolas Charles, Flavien Choulet, Stanislas Sizaret, Yan Chen, Luc Barbanson, et al.. Internal structures and dating of non-sulphide Zn deposits 5 using rock magnetism: insights from the Moroccan High Atlas. Mineralium Deposita, Spinger, 2016, 51 (1), pp.151-175. ⟨10.1007/s00126-015-0596-x⟩. ⟨insu-01164517⟩

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