Scientific article

Paleozoic orogenic gold deposits in the eastern Central Andes and its foreland, South America

Published inOre geology reviews, vol. 22, no. 1-2, p. 41-59
Publication date2002

In the eastern Central Andes and its foreland (6j–34jS), abundant quartz veins emplaced along brittle–ductile deformation zones in Ordovician to Carboniferous granites and gneisses and in saddle-reefs in lower Paleozoic turbidites represent a coherent group of middle to late Paleozoic structurally hosted gold deposits that are part of three major Au (FSbFW) metallogenic belts. These belts, extending from northern Peru to central Argentina along the Eastern Andean Cordillera and further south in the Sierras Pampeanas, include historical districts and mines such as Pataz–Parcoy, Ananea, Santo Domingo, Yani–Aucapata, Amayapampa, Sierra de la Rinconada and Sierras de Co´rdoba. On the basis of the available isotopic ages, two broad mineralization epochs have been identified, with Devonian ages in the Sierras Pampeanas Au belt (26j to 33j30VS), and Carboniferous ages for the Pataz–Maran˜o´n Valley Au-belt in northern Peru (6j50V to 8j50VS). The absolute timing of the southeastern Peruvian, Bolivian and northwestern Argentinian turbidite-hosted lodes, which form the Au–Sb belt of the southern Eastern Andean Cordillera (12j to 26jS), is poorly constrained. Field relationships suggest overlap of gold veining with Carboniferous deformation events. The northernmost belt, which includes the Pataz province, is over 160-km-long and consists of sulfide-rich quartz veins hosted by brittle–ductile shear zones that have affected Carboniferous granitic intrusions. Gold mineralization, at least in the Pataz province, occurred a few million years after the emplacement of the 329 Ma host pluton and an episode of molassic basin formation, during a period of rapid uplift of the host units. The two southern belts are associated with syn- to post-collisional settings, resulting from the accretion of terranes on the proto-Andean margin of South America. The Au–Sb belt of the southern Eastern Andean Cordillera presumably formed in the final stages of the collision of the Arequipa–Antofalla terrane and the Sierras Pampeanas Au belt is considered concurrent with the late transpressional tectonics associated with the accretion of the Chilenia terrane. The three Devono–Carboniferous Andean belts are the South American segments of the trans-global orogenic gold provinces that were formed from Late Ordovician to Middle Permian in accretionary or collisional belts that circumscribed the Gondwana craton and the paleo-Tethys continental masses. A paleogeographic map of the Gondwana supercontinent in its Middle Cambrian configuration appears as a powerful tool for predicting the location of the majority of the Paleozoic orogenic gold provinces in the world, as they develop within mobile belts along its border. The three South American belts are sited in the metallogenic continuation of the Paleozoic terranes that host the giant eastern Australian goldfields, such as Bendigo–Ballarat and Charters Towers, with which they share many features. When compared to deposits in the French Massif Central, direct counterparts of the Andean deposits such as Pataz and Ananea–Yani are respectively the Saint Yrieix district and the Salsigne deposit. Considering the ubiquity of the Au (FSbFW) vein-type deposits in the Eastern Cordillera and Sierras Pampeanas,and the relatively little attention devoted to them, the Devonian and Carboniferous orogenic gold deposits in the eastern section of the Central Andes constitute an attractive target for mineral exploration.

  • Orogenic gold deposits
  • Paleozoic
  • Eastern Central Andes
  • Peru
  • Bolivia
  • Argentina
Citation (ISO format)
HAEBERLIN, Yves, MORITZ, Robert, FONTBOTÉ, Lluís. Paleozoic orogenic gold deposits in the eastern Central Andes and its foreland, South America. In: Ore geology reviews, 2002, vol. 22, n° 1-2, p. 41–59. doi: 10.1016/S0169-1368(02)00108-7
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0169-1368

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