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New 40Ar/39Ar alunite ages from the Colquijirca district, Peru: evidence of a long period of magmatic SO2 degassing during formation of epithermal Au–Ag and Cordilleran polymetallic ores

Published inMineralium deposita, vol. 43, no. 7, p. 777-789
Collection
  • Open Access - Licence nationale Springer
Publication date2008
Abstract

We present 40Ar/39Ar data acquired by infra-red (CO2) laser step-heating of alunite crystals from the large Miocene Colquijirca district in central Peru. Combined with previously published data, our results show that a long (at least 1.3 My) and complex period of magmatic-hydrothermal activity associated with epithermal Au–(Ag) mineralization and base metal, Cordilleran ores took place at Colquijirca. The new data indicate that incursion of magmatic SO2-bearing vapor into the Colquijirca epithermal system began at least as early as ∼11.9 Ma and lasted until ∼10.6 Ma. Four alunite samples associated with high-sulfidation epithermal Au–(Ag) ore gave 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages between ∼11.9 and ∼11.1 Ma (compared to the previously documented ∼11.6 to ∼11.3 Ma). By combining individually these new ages with crosscutting relationships, the duration of the Au–(Ag) deposition period can be estimated to at least 0.4 My. Three new 40Ar/39Ar plateau ages on alunite associated with the base-metal Cordilleran ores are consistent with previously obtained ages, all of them between 10.83 ± 0.06 and 10.56 ± 0.06 Ma, suggesting that most of the sulfide-rich polymetallic deposits of Smelter and Colquijirca formed during this short period. The recognition of consecutive alunite-bearing and alunite-free mineral assemblages within both the Au–(Ag) and the base-metal Cordilleran ores may suggest that SO2-bearing magmatic vapor entered the epithermal environment as multiple discontinuous pulses, a number of which was not necessarily associated in time with ore fluids. It is likely that a period of SO2-bearing vapor degassing longer than 11.9 to 10.6 Ma may be recognized with further more detailed work.

Keywords
  • Epithermal
  • Alunite
  • High sulfidation
  • 40Ar/39Ar geochronology
  • Cordilleran
  • Colquijirca
  • Peru
Citation (ISO format)
BENDEZÚ, Ronner et al. New 40Ar/39Ar alunite ages from the Colquijirca district, Peru: evidence of a long period of magmatic SO2 degassing during formation of epithermal Au–Ag and Cordilleran polymetallic ores. In: Mineralium deposita, 2008, vol. 43, n° 7, p. 777–789. doi: 10.1007/s00126-008-0195-1
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ISSN of the journal0026-4598
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