, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 791-797
Date: 24 Jul 2007

Concordant ages for the giant Kipushi base metal deposit (DR Congo) from direct Rb–Sr and Re–Os dating of sulfides

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We report concordant ages of 451.1 ± 6.0 and 450.5 ± 3.4 Ma from direct Rb–Sr and Re–Os isochron dating, respectively, of ore-stage Zn–Cu–Ge sulfides, including sphalerite for the giant carbonate-hosted Kipushi base metal (+Ge) deposit in the Neoproterozoic Lufilian Arc, DR Congo. This is the first example of a world-class sulfide deposit being directly dated by two independent isotopic methods. The 451 Ma age for Kipushi suggests that the ore-forming solutions did not evolve from metamorphogenic fluids mobilized syntectonically during the Pan-African-Lufilian orogeny but rather were generated in a Late Ordovician postorogenic, extensional setting. The homogeneous Pb isotopic composition of the sulfides indicates that both Cu–Ge- and Zn-rich orebodies of the Kipushi deposit formed contemporaneously from the same fluid system. The sulfide Pb isotope signatures in combination with initial 87Sr/86Sr and 187Os/188Os ratios defined by the isochrons point to metal sources located in the (upper) crust. The concordant Re–Os and Rb–Sr ages obtained in this study provide independent proof of the geological significance of direct Rb–Sr dating of sphalerite.

Editorial handling: B. Lehmann