Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 382-394

First online:

Gold mineralization without quartz veins in a ductile-brittle shear zone, Macraes Mine, Otago Schist, New Zealand

  • D. CrawAffiliated withGeology Department, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • , S. J. WindleAffiliated withGeology Department, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • , P. V. AngusAffiliated withMacraes Mining Co. Ltd, PO Box 84, Palmerston, Otago, New Zealand

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Greenschist facies schist which hosts the Macraes Mine in East Otago, New Zealand has been pervasively altered by post-metamorphic (lower greenschist facies) fluids over a 120 m thick section perpendicular to foliation. Metamorphic titanite has been replaced by rutile, and epidote has been replaced by a variety of metamorphic minerals including siderite, chlorite, muscovite and calcite. The early stages of this alteration occurred during development of a ductile cleavage associated with kilometre scale recumbent folding. The cleavage was widely overprinted by a subparallel set of spaced (mm scale) microshears which are locally enriched in rutile and hydrothermal graphite. Strain was then concentrated into narrow (m scale) zones where more intensely deformed portions of the rock are crossed and highly disrupted by closely spaced (100 μm scale) microshears. The highly strained rocks show a combination of mylonitic and cataclastic microstructures, including crystal-plastic grain size reduction and recrystallization of micas to form a new foliation. Muscovite has grown at the expense of albite in the mylonitic cataclasites. Hydrothermal alteration was accompanied by addition of pyrite, arsenopyrite and gold without development of quartz veins. Gold precipitated with sulphides during reduction of the fluid by hydrothermal graphite. The whole altered rock sequence was later cut sporadically by mesothermal quartz veins which contain gold, scheelite, rutile, pyrite and arsenopyrite. This deposit displays a continuum of post-metamorphic processes and hydrothermal fluid flow which occurred during uplift of the schist belt.