Scientific article
Open access

T-P-fO2 conditions of sulfide saturation in magmatic enclaves and their host lavas

Published inLithos, vol. 398-399, no. 106313
Publication date2021

Physicochemical conditions under which early sulfide saturation occurs and the role of this process in the mineralising potential of magmas in different geodynamic settings have been the subject of interest in many recent studies. Here we present new temperature-pressure-fO2 data on sulfide-saturated magmatic enclaves and host lavas from volcanic systems in subduction, post-subduction and intraplate geodynamic settings, some of which are associated with porphyry and epithermal deposits. Petrographic investigations coupled with mineral chemistry of sulfide inclusions and their host minerals and with bulk chemistry of amphibole, plagioclase and pyroxene-rich enclaves and their host lavas indicate that sulfide occurrence, abundance, and composition depend on magma evolution. Sulfides are more abundant and have higher Ni/Cu bulk ratios when found in mafic enclaves compared to sulfide inclusions occurring in more evolved lavas. Thermo-oxibarometry estimates indicate that mafic hornblende-rich cumulates (SiO2 < 45 wt%) occurring at the studied intraplate setting evolve and reach sulfide saturation already in the mantle (61 ± 7 km) at high temperature and pressure conditions (17 kbar and 1135 ± 28 ◦C) and low ΔNNO (< 􀀀 1). These cumulates are associated with a greater sulfide abundance (up to 0.23 area %) compared to other types of enclaves and have Cu-poor sulfides (mostly pyrrhotite, with Cu median = 0.16 wt%) with high Ni/Cu values (up to 65). In contrast, more evolved (SiO2 > 50 wt%) gabbroic plutonic enclaves found in arc settings saturate sulfides at shallower crustal levels (~26 ± 10 km, i.e. ≤ 7 kbar) and at lower temperature (1014 ± 28 ◦C) and higher ΔNNO (> +1), and are characterised by a lower sulfide abundance (down to 0.01 area %), dominated by Cu-rich sulfides (mostly chalcopyrite and bornite with Cu median = 50 wt%). By accounting for the sulfide volume, our results suggest that sulfides can retain significantly higher amounts of metals in the enclaves (Cu = 32–113 ppm) compared to sulfides in the host lavas (Cu < 8 ppm). Considered altogether, our results indicate that alkaline mafic, less oxidised, and barren magmas corresponding to intraplate and back-arc settings saturated in sulfides in the upper mantle. In contrast, calc-alkaline felsic, oxidised and ore-related magmas corresponding to convergent margins started to be saturated in sulfides at the expected depth of the MASH zone and at shallower crustal levels. This seems to be a consequence of the investigated alkaline systems not forming shallow crustal magma chambers allowing magma differentiation, rather than the fact that late and shallow sulfide saturation is necessary for porphyry formation.

  • Magmatic sulfide saturation
  • Sulfide inclusions
  • Thermo-oxibarometry
  • Porphyry deposits
Citation (ISO format)
GEORGATOU, Ariadni Afroditi, CHIARADIA, Massimo, KOUZMANOV, Kalin. T-P-fO<sub>2</sub> conditions of sulfide saturation in magmatic enclaves and their host lavas. In: Lithos, 2021, vol. 398-399, n° 106313. doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2021.106313
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0024-4937

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