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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Scientific Reports, Volume 12, Number 1, p.14710 (2022)






<p>Earth’s mineral deposits show a non-uniform spatial&nbsp;distribution from the craton-scale, to the scale of individual mineral districts. Although this pattern of differential metal endowment is underpinned by lithospheric-scale processes the geological features that cause clustering of deposits remains enigmatic. The integration of geological and geophysical (seismic, gravity, and magnetotelluric) features has produced the first whole-of-crust image through an iconic Neoarchean volcanic complex and mineral district in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Superior Province, Canada. Observations indicate an asymmetry in surface geology, structure, and crustal architecture that defines deep transcrustal magmatic-hydrothermal upflow zones and the limits of the Noranda District ore system. Here, extreme volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) endowment is confined to a smaller area adjacent to an ancestral transcrustal structure interpreted to have localized and optimized magmatic and ore forming processes. Although lithospheric-scale evolutionary processes might act as the fundamental control on metal endowment, the new crustal reconstruction explains the clustering of deposits on both belt and district scales. The results highlight a strong magmatic control on metal and in particular Au endowment in VMS systems. Overprinting by clusters of ca. 30&nbsp;Ma younger orogenic Au deposits suggest the ore systems accessed an upper lithospheric mantle enriched in Au and metals.</p>