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U–Pb, Re–Os, and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of the Nambija Au-skarn and Pangui porphyry Cu deposits, Ecuador: implications for the Jurassic metallogenic belt of the Northern Andes

Published inMineralium Deposita, vol. 44, no. 4, p. 371-387
Collection
  • Open Access - Licence nationale Springer
Publication date2009
Abstract

New U–Pb, Re–Os, and 40Ar/39Ar dates are presented for magmatic and hydrothermal mineral phases in skarn- and porphyry-related ores from the Nambija and Pangui districts of the Subandean zone, southeastern Ecuador. Nambija has been one of the main gold-producing centers of Ecuador since the 1980s due to exceptionally high-grade ores (average 15 g/t, but frequently up to 300 g/t Au). Pangui is a recently discovered porphyry Cu–Mo district. The geology of the Subandean zone in southeastern Ecuador is dominated by the I-type, subduction-related, Jurassic Zamora batholith, which intrudes Triassic volcanosedimentary rocks. The Zamora batholith is in turn cut by porphyritic stocks, which are commonly associated with skarn formation and/or porphyry-style mineralization. High precision U–Pb and Re–Os ages for porphyritic stocks (U– Pb, zircon), associated prograde skarn (U–Pb, hydrothermal titanite), and retrograde stage skarn (Re–Os, molybdenite from veins postdating gold deposition) of the Nambija district are all indistinguishable from each other within error (145 Ma) and indicate a Late Jurassic age for the gold mineralization. Previously, gold mineralization at Nambija was considered to be Early Tertiary based on K–Ar ages obtained on various hydrothermal minerals. The new Jurassic age for the Nambija district is slightly younger than the 40Ar/39Ar and Re–Os ages for magmatic–hydrothermal minerals from the Pangui district, which range between 157 and 152 Ma. Mineralization at Nambija and Pangui is associated with porphyritic stocks that represent the last known episodes of a long-lived Jurassic arc magmatism (∼190 to 145 Ma). A Jurassic age for mineralization at Nambija and Pangui suggests that the Northern Andean Jurassic metallogenic belt, which starts in Colombia at 3° N, extends down to 5° S in Ecuador. It also adds a new mineralization style (Au-skarn) to the metal endowment of this belt.

Keywords
  • U–Pb
  • Re–Os
  • Ar–Ar
  • Geochronology
  • Ecuador
  • Nambija
  • Pangui
  • Skarn
  • Porphyry Cu
  • Gold
Citation (ISO format)
CHIARADIA, Massimo et al. U–Pb, Re–Os, and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of the Nambija Au-skarn and Pangui porphyry Cu deposits, Ecuador: implications for the Jurassic metallogenic belt of the Northern Andes. In: Mineralium Deposita, 2009, vol. 44, n° 4, p. 371–387. doi: 10.1007/s00126-008-0210-6
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