Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 38, Issue 5, pp 519–537 | Cite as

Source and evolution of ore-forming hydrothermal fluids in the northern Iberian Pyrite Belt massive sulphide deposits (SW Spain): evidence from fluid inclusions and stable isotopes

  • Javier Sánchez-España
  • Francisco Velasco
  • Adrian J. Boyce
  • Anthony E. Fallick


A fluid inclusion and stable isotopic study has been undertaken on some massive sulphide deposits (Aguas Teñidas Este, Concepción, San Miguel, San Telmo and Cueva de la Mora) located in the northern Iberian Pyrite Belt. The isotopic analyses were mainly performed on quartz, chlorite, carbonate and whole rock samples from the stockworks and altered footwall zones of the deposits, and also on some fluid inclusion waters. Homogenization temperatures of fluid inclusions in quartz mostly range from 120 to 280 °C. Salinity of most fluid inclusions ranges from 2 to 14 wt% NaCl equiv. A few cases with Th=80–110 °C and salinity of 16–24 wt% NaCl equiv., have been also recognized. In addition, fluid inclusions from the Soloviejo Mn–Fe-jaspers (160–190 °C and ≈6 wt% NaCl equiv.) and some Late to Post-Hercynian quartz veins (130–270 °C and ≈4 wt% NaCl equiv.) were also studied. Isotopic results indicate that fluids in equilibrium with measured quartz (δ18Ofluid ≈–2 to 4‰), chlorites (δ18Ofluid ≈8–14‰, δDfluid ≈–45 to –27‰), whole rocks (δ18Ofluid ≈4–7‰, δDfluid ≈–15 to –10‰), and carbonates (δ18Oankerite ≈14.5–16‰, δ13Cfluid =–11 to –5‰) evolved isotopically during the lifetime of the hydrothermal systems, following a waxing/waning cycle at different temperatures and water/rock ratios. The results (fluid inclusions, δ18O, δD and δ13C values) point to a highly evolved seawater, along with a variable (but significant) contribution of other fluid reservoirs such as magmatic and/or deep metamorphic waters, as the most probable sources for the ore-forming fluids. These fluids interacted with the underlying volcanic and sedimentary rocks during convective circulation through the upper crust.


Fluid inclusions Iberian Pyrite Belt Massive sulphide deposits Ore-forming fluids Stable isotopes 



The Department of Education, Universities and Research of the Basque Government financially supported J.S.E. with a PhD fellowship. Raúl Hidalgo and Kerr Anderson from Navan (Huelva) S.A. are gratefully thanked for permission to collect drill-cores and for mine access. We thank Mike Solomon and Dave Lentz for considered and helpful reviews. The editorial comments of Bernd Lehmann are sincerely acknowledged. This manuscript has also benefited from comments of Fernando Tornos (IGME). SUERC is funded by the Scottish Universities consortium, and NERC. A.J.B. is funded by NERC support of the Isotope Communities Support Facility at SUERC.


  1. Barriga FJAS (1983) Hydrothermal metamorphism and ore genesis at Aljustrel, Portugal. PhD Thesis, University of Western Ontario, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  2. Barriga FJAS, Kerrich R (1984) Extreme 18O-enriched volcanics and 18O-evolved marine water, Aljustrel, Iberian Pyrite Belt: transition from high to low Rayleigh number convective regimes. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 48:1021–1031Google Scholar
  3. Bobrowicz GL (1995) Mineralogy, geochemistry and alteration as exploration guides at Aguas Teñidas Este, Pyrite Belt, Spain. PhD Thesis, University of Birmingham, UKGoogle Scholar
  4. Broman C (1987) Fluid inclusions of the massive sulphide deposits in the Skellefte district, Sweden. Chem Geol 61:161–168Google Scholar
  5. Bryndzia LT, Scott SD, Farr JE (1983) Mineralogy, geochemistry and mineral chemistry of siliceous ore and altered footwall rocks in the Uwamuki 2 and 4 deposits, Kosaka mine, Hokuroku district, Japan. Econ Geol Monogr 5:507–522Google Scholar
  6. Cathelineau M (1988) Cation site occupancy in chlorites and illites as a function of temperature. Clay Minerals 23:471–485Google Scholar
  7. Cathles LM (1993) A capless 350 °C flow zone model to explain megaplumes salinity variations, and high-temperature veins in ridge axis hydrothermal systems. Econ Geol 88:1977–1988Google Scholar
  8. Cole DR, Ripley EM (1998) Oxygen isotope fractionation between chlorite and water from 170 to 350 °C: a preliminary assessment based on partial exchange and fluid/rock experiments. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 63(3/4):449–457Google Scholar
  9. Crawford ML (1981) Fluid inclusions in metamorphic rocks of low and medium grade. In: Hollister LS, Crawford ML (eds) Short course in fluid inclusions: application to petrology. Mineral Assoc Can 7:157–181Google Scholar
  10. Diagana B, Marignac C, Boiron MC, Marcoux E, Deschamps Y, Cathelineau M (1999) The effect of Hercynian metamorphism on "stockwork" ores in massive sulphide deposits (La Zarza, Tharsis) of the South Iberic Pyritous Belt: mineralogical and fluid inclusion data. Proceedings of the EUG Biennial Meeting, StrasbourgGoogle Scholar
  11. Eldridge CS, Barton PB, Ohmoto H (1983) Mineral textures and their bearing on the formation of the Kuroko deposits. In: Ohmoto H, Skinner BJ (eds) The Kuroko and related volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits. Econ Geol Monogr 5:241–281Google Scholar
  12. Fallick AE, Macaulay CI, Haszeldine RS (1993) Implications of linearly correlated oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions for kaolinite and illite in the Magnus Sandstone, North Sea. Clays Clay Mineral 41:184–190Google Scholar
  13. Faure G (1986) Principles of isotope geology. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Fouillac AM, Javoy M (1988) Oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in the volcano-sedimentary complex of Huelva (Iberian Pyrite Belt): example of water circulation trough a volcano-sedimentary sequence. Earth Planet Sci Lett 87:473–484Google Scholar
  15. Franklin JM, Sangster DF, Lydon JW (1981) Volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits. Econ Geol 75:485–627Google Scholar
  16. Friedman I, O'Neil, JR (1977) Data of geochemistry. Compilation of stable isotope fractionation factors of geochemical interest. US Geol Surv Prof Pap 440-KKGoogle Scholar
  17. Giles AD, Marshall B (1994) Fluid inclusion studies on a multiply deformed, metamorphosed volcanic-associated massive sulphide deposit, Joma Mine, Norway. Econ Geol 89:803–819Google Scholar
  18. Halsall C, Sawkins FJ (1989) Magmatic–hydrothermal origin of fluids involved in generation of massive sulphide deposits at Rio Tinto, Spain. In: Miles L (ed) Water/rock interaction. International Association of Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry and Alberta Research Council, Edmonton, pp 285–288Google Scholar
  19. Hidalgo R, Guerrero V, Pons JM (2001) Geology of the Aguas Teñidas Este mine, Southern Spain. GEODE workshop, Aracena, OctoberGoogle Scholar
  20. Huston DL (1999) Stable isotopes and their significance for understanding the genesis of volcanic-hosted massive sulphide deposits: a review. In: Barrie CT, Hannington MD (eds) Volcanic-associated massive sulphide deposits: processes and examples in modern and ancient settings. Rev Econ Geol 8:157–181Google Scholar
  21. Huston DL, Taylor BE, Bleeker W, Stewart B, Cook R, Koopman ER (1995) Isotope mapping around the Kidd Creek deposit, Ontario: application to exploration and comparison with other geochemical indicators. Explor Mining Geol 4/3:175–185Google Scholar
  22. Huston DL, Taylor BE, Bleeker W, Watanabe DH (1996) Productivity of volcanic-hosted massive sulphide districts: new constraints from the δ18O of quartz phenocrysts in cogenetic felsic rocks. Geology 24/5:459–462Google Scholar
  23. Hutchinson RW (1981) A synthesis and overview of Buchans geology. In: Swanson EA, Strong DF, Thurlow FG (eds) Fifty years of mining and geology. Geol Assoc Can Spec Pap 22:326–350Google Scholar
  24. IGME (1982) Memoria explicativa de la Hoja geológica 1:50,000 de Nerva (no 938). Mining Ind Energy 2a SerieGoogle Scholar
  25. Inverno CMC, Lopes CJCD, d'Orey FLC, de Carvalho D (2000) The Cu(–Au) stockwork deposit of Salgadinho, Cercal, Pyrite Belt, SW Portugal – paragenetic sequence and fluid inclusion investigation. In: Gemmell JB, Pongratz J (eds) Volcanic environments and massive sulphide deposits. International Conference and Field Meeting, 16–19 November 2000, Tasmania, Program and abstracts volume, pp 99–100Google Scholar
  26. Khin Zaw (1991) The effect of Devonian metamorphism and metasomatism on the mineralogy and geochemistry of the Cambrian massive sulphide deposits in the Rosebery–Hercules district, western Tasmania. PhD Thesis, University of TasmaniaGoogle Scholar
  27. Khin Zaw, Large RR (1992) The precious metal-rich South Hercules mineralization, western Tasmania: a possible subsea-floor replacement volcanic-hosted massive sulphide deposit. Special issue on Australian massive sulphide deposits. Econ Geol 87:931–952Google Scholar
  28. Khin Zaw, Gemmel JB, Large RR, Mernagh TP, Ryan CG (1996) Evolution and source of ore fluids in the stringer systems, Hellyer massive sulphide deposit, Tasmania, Australia: evidence from fluid inclusion microthermometry and geochemistry. Ore Geol Rev 10:251–278Google Scholar
  29. Koski RA (1987) Geological setting and polymetallic sulphide deposits of the Escanaba Trough, Southern Gorda Ridge (abstract). In: Recent hydrothermal mineralization at seafloor spreading centres: tectonic, petrologic and geochemical constraints. Program with abstracts. Mineral Exploration Research Institute, Feb, McGill University, MontrealGoogle Scholar
  30. Large RR (1992) Australian volcanic-hosted massive sulphide deposits, features, styles, and genetic models. Econ Geol 87:471–510Google Scholar
  31. Leistel JM, Marcoux E, Deschamps Y (1998a) Chert in the Iberian Pyrite Belt. Miner Deposita 33:59–81Google Scholar
  32. Leistel JM, Marcoux E, Thiéblemont D, Quesada C, Sánchez A, Almodóvar GR, Pascual E, Sáez R (1998b) The volcanic-hosted massive sulphide deposits of the Iberian Pyrite Belt. Miner Deposita 33:2–30Google Scholar
  33. Lentz DR (1999) Deformation-induced mass transfer in felsic volcanic rocks hosting the Brunswick no. 6 massive-sulphide deposit, New Brunswick: geochemical effects and petrogenetic implications. Can Mineral 37:489–512Google Scholar
  34. Lentz DR, Hall DC, Hoy LD (1997) Chemostratigraphic, alteration, and oxygen isotopic trends in a profile through the stratigraphic sequence hosting the Heath Steele B Zone massive sulphide deposit, New Brunswick. Can Mineral 35:841–874Google Scholar
  35. Longstaffe FJ (1989) Stable isotopes as tracers in clastic diagenesis. Short course in burial diagenesis. In: Hutcheon IE (ed) Mineral Association of Canada Short Course, pp 201–284Google Scholar
  36. Lusk J, Krouse RH (1997) Comparative stable isotope and temperature investigation of minerals and associated fluids in two regionally metamorphosed (Kuroko-type) volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits. Chem Geol 143:231–253Google Scholar
  37. Lydon JW (1988) 'Volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits' Part 1, A descriptive model. Geoscience Canada Reprint Series 3, Ore Deposit Models, pp 145–152Google Scholar
  38. Marumo K, Nagasawa K, Kuroda Y (1980) Mineralogy and hydrogen isotope geochemistry of clay minerals in the Ohnuma geothermal area, northeastern Japan. Earth Planet Sci Lett 47:255–262Google Scholar
  39. Matsuhisa Y, Goldsmith HJR, Clayton RN (1979) Oxygen isotopic fractionation in the system quartz–albite–anorthite–water. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 43:1131–1140Google Scholar
  40. Moura A, Noronha F, Cathelineau M, Boiron M-C, Ferreira A (1997) Evidence of metamorphic fluid migration within the Neves Corvo ore deposit: the fluid inclusion data. In: Barriga FJAS (ed) SEG Neves Corvo field Conference, 11–14 May, Lisbon, Portugal, Abstracts and program volumeGoogle Scholar
  41. Mumin AH, Fleet ME, Longstaffe FJ (1996) Evolution of hydrothermal fluids in the Ashanti gold Belt, Ghana: stable isotope geochemistry of carbonates, graphite and quartz. Econ Geol 91(1):135–148Google Scholar
  42. Munhá J, Barriga FJAS, Kerrich R (1986) High 18O ore forming fluids in volcanic hosted base metal massive sulphide deposits: geologic, 18O/16O, and D/H evidence from the Iberian Pyrite Belt, Crandon, Wisconsin and Blue Hill, Maine. Econ Geol 81(3):530–552Google Scholar
  43. Nehlig P, Cassard D, Marcoux E (1998) Geometry and genesis of feeder zones of massive sulphide deposits: constraints from the Rio Tinto ore deposit (Spain). Miner Deposita 33:137–149Google Scholar
  44. Ohmoto H (1996) Formation of volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits: the Kuroko perspective. Ore Geol Rev 10:135–177Google Scholar
  45. Ohmoto H, Rye RO (1974) Hydrogen and oxygen isotopic compositions of fluid inclusions in the Kuroko deposits, Japan. Econ Geol 69:947–953Google Scholar
  46. Peter JM, Scott SD (1988) Mineralogy, composition, and fluid inclusion microthermometry of seafloor hydrothermal deposits in the southern trough of Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California. Can Mineral 26:567–587Google Scholar
  47. Pisutha-Arnold V, Ohmoto H (1983) Thermal history, chemical and isotopic compositions of the ore-forming fluids responsible for the Kuroko-massive sulphide deposits in the Hokuroku district of Japan. Econ Geol Monogr 5:523–558Google Scholar
  48. Potter RW, Babcook RS, Brown DL (1978) Freezing point depression of aqueous sodium chloride solutions. Econ Geol 73:284–285Google Scholar
  49. Relvas JMRS (2000) Geology and metallogenesis at the Neves Corvo deposit, Portugal. PhD Thesis, University of Lisbon, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  50. Relvas JMRS, Barriga FJAS, Longstaffe F (2000) Tin and base metal supply in the Neves Corvo deposit: implications from ore geochemistry and oxygen, hydrogen and carbon isotope systematics. In: Gemmell JB, Pongratz J (eds) Volcanic environments and massive sulphide deposits. International Conference and Field Meeting, 16–19 November 2000, Tasmania, Program and abstracts volume, pp 169–170Google Scholar
  51. Ripley EM, Ohmoto H (1977) Mineralogic, sulphur isotope, and fluid inclusion studies of the stratabound copper deposits at the Raul mine, Peru. Econ Geol 72:1017–1041Google Scholar
  52. Rodríguez P (1996) Aguas Teñidas Deposit, Faja Pirítica, Cu–Pb–Zn–Ag. In: Simposio Sulphuros polimetálicos de la Faja Pirítica Ibérica, Huelva 21–23 Feb 1996, SpainGoogle Scholar
  53. Roedder E (1984) Fluid inclusions. Mineral Soc Am, Rev MineralGoogle Scholar
  54. Rona PA (1988) Hydrothermal mineralization at seafloor spreading centres. Earth Sci Rev 20:1–104Google Scholar
  55. Routhier P, Aye F, Boyer C, Lécolle M, Moliére P, Picot P, Roger G (1978) La Ceinture Sud-Ibérique a amás sulphurés dans sa partie espagnole médiane. Mem BRGM, vol 94Google Scholar
  56. Sáez R, Almodóvar GR, Pascual E (1996) Geological constraints on massive sulphide genesis in the Iberian Pyrite Belt. Ore Geol Rev 11:429–451Google Scholar
  57. Sánchez-España FJ (2000) Mineralogía y geoquímica de los yacimientos de sulfuros masivos del área septentrional de la Faja Pirítica Ibérica (San Telmo–San Miguel–Peña del Hierro), Huelva, España. PhD Thesis, Universidad del País Vasco, BilbaoGoogle Scholar
  58. Sánchez-España FJ, Velasco F (1999) Constraints on the Hercynian metamorphism at the NE Iberian Pyrite Belt: ore petrography and phyllosilicate crystallinity. In: Stanley et al. (eds) Mineral deposits: processes to processing. Proceedings of the 5th Biennial SGA Meeting, London, pp 975–978Google Scholar
  59. Sánchez-España FJ, Velasco F, Yusta I (2000) Hydrothermal alteration of felsic volcanic rocks associated to massive sulphide deposition at the Northeastern Iberian Pyrite Belt (SW Spain). Appl Geochem 15:1265–1290Google Scholar
  60. Savin SM, Lee M (1988) Isotopic studies of phyllosilicates In: Bailey SW (ed) Hydrous phyllosilicates (exclusive of micas). Mineral Soc Am, Rev Mineral 19:189–223Google Scholar
  61. Schermerhorn LJG (1971) An outline stratigraphy of the Iberian Pyrite Belt .Bol Geol Mineral 82:239–268Google Scholar
  62. Shepherd TJ, Rankin AH, Alderton DHM (1985) A practical guide to fluid inclusion studies. Blackie, LondonGoogle Scholar
  63. Sheppard SMH (1986) Characterization and isotopic variations in natural waters. In: Valley JW, Taylor HP, O'Neil JR (eds) Stable isotopes in high temperature geological processes. Rev Mineral 16:165–183Google Scholar
  64. Solomon M (1976) 'Volcanic' massive sulphide deposits and their host rocks – a review and an explanation. In: Wolf KA (ed) Handbook of strata-bound and stratiform ore deposits, II, regional studies and specific deposits. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 21–50Google Scholar
  65. Solomon M, Tornos F, Gaspar OC, Inverno C (2000) Constructing the massive pyritic ore deposits of the Iberian Pyrite Belt: an explanation involving brine pools, sulphur-deficient ore fluids, and tin granites. In: Gemmell JB, Pongratz J (eds) Volcanic environments and massive sulphide deposits. International Conference and Field Meeting, Program and abstracts volume, November, Tasmania, pp 201–203Google Scholar
  66. Stanton RL (1985) Stratiform ores and geological processes. R Soc New South Wales 118:77–100Google Scholar
  67. Stanton RL (1990) Magmatic evolution and the ore type-lava type affiliations of volcanic exhalative ores. Aust Inst Mineral Metall Monogr 15:101–107Google Scholar
  68. Taylor BE, Holk GJ, Huston DL (2000) Oxygen isotope mapping and evaluation of palaeo-hydrothermal systems associated with synvolcanic intrusions and massive sulphide deposits. In: Gemmell JB, Pongratz J (eds) Volcanic environments and massive sulphide deposits. International Conference and Field Meeting, November, Tasmania, Program and abstracts volume, pp 207–208Google Scholar
  69. Taylor HP Jr (1974) The application of oxygen and hydrogen isotope studies to problems of hydrothermal alteration and ore deposition. Econ Geol 69:843–883Google Scholar
  70. Taylor HP Jr (1978) Oxygen and hydrogen isotope studies of plutonic granitic rocks. Earth Planet Sci Lett 38:177–210Google Scholar
  71. Taylor HP Jr (1979) Oxygen and hydrogen isotope relationships in hydrothermal mineral deposits. In: Barnes HL (ed) Geochemistry of hydrothermal ore deposits. Wiley-Interscience, New York, pp 236–277Google Scholar
  72. Tornos F (2000) Styles of mineralisation and mechanisms of ore deposition in massive sulphides of the Iberian Pyrite Belt. In: Gemmell JB, Pongratz J (eds) Volcanic environments and massive sulphide deposits. International Conference and Field Meeting, November, Tasmania, Program and abstracts volume, pp 211–212Google Scholar
  73. Tornos F, González-Clavijo E, Spiro B (1998) The Filón Norte orebody (Tharsis, Iberian Pyrite Belt): a proximal low-temperature shale-hosted massive sulphide in a thin-skinned tectonic belt. Miner Deposita 33:150–169Google Scholar
  74. Toscano M, Sáez R, Almodóvar GR (1997) Hydrothermal fluid evolution during the genesis of the Aznalcóllar massive sulphides (Iberian Pyrite Belt): fluid inclusion evidences. Geogaceta 21:211–214Google Scholar
  75. Valley JW (1986) Stable isotope geochemistry of metamorphic rocks. In: Valley JW, Taylor HP, O'Neil JR (eds) Stable isotopes in high temperature geological processes. Rev Mineral 16:445–489Google Scholar
  76. Vanko DA, Milby BJ, Heinzquith SW (1991) Massive sulphides with fluid-inclusion-bearing quartz from a young seamount on the East Pacific Rise. Can Mineral 29:453–460Google Scholar
  77. Velasco F, Sánchez-España FJ, Boyce A, Fallick A, Sáez R, Almodóvar GR (1998) A new sulphur isotopic study of some IPB deposits: evidence of a textural control on the sulphur isotope composition. Miner Deposita 33(8):4–18Google Scholar
  78. Wipfler EL, Sedler IK (1995) Vein mineralizations in the Iberian Pyrite Belt, SW Spain. In: Pasava et al. (eds) Mineral deposits. Proceedings of the 3rd Biennial SGA Meeting, Balkema, pp 405–408Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag  2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Sánchez-España
    • 1
    • 3
  • Francisco Velasco
    • 1
  • Adrian J. Boyce
    • 2
  • Anthony E. Fallick
    • 2
  1. 1.Dpto. Mineralogía y Petrología. Universidad del País Vasco, Apdo. 644BilbaoSpain
  2. 2.Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, East Kilbride G75 0QF, Scotland, UKBilbaoSpain
  3. 3.: TERRA NOVA S.L., Colón de Larreátegui, 32, 1ª, 48009BilbaoSpain

Personalised recommendations