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Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 391–428 | Cite as

The timing of gold mineralization across the eastern Yilgarn craton using U–Pb geochronology of hydrothermal phosphate minerals

  • Noreen Vielreicher
  • David Groves
  • Neal McNaughton
  • Ian Fletcher
Invited Paper

Abstract

The highly mineralized Eastern Goldfields of the eastern Yilgarn craton is an amalgamation of dominantly Neoarchaean granitoid-greenstone terranes and domains that record a history of early rifting, followed by westward directed collision with initial arc formation, collision and clastic basin formation, and final accretion to the western Yilgarn proto-craton between 2.66 and 2.60 billion years ago. The gold deposits that define this region as a world-class gold province are the product of orogenic processes that operated during accretion late in the tectonic history, after initial compressional deformation (D1–D2) and the majority of granitoid magmatism. Minor gold was also deposited throughout the entire tectonic history in magmatic-hydrothermal-related systems. However, such mineralization (mostly < 0.3 g/t gold) is nowhere economic unless it overprints, or is overprinted by, much higher-grade orogenic gold lodes. Robust SHRIMP U–Pb geochronology of gold-related hydrothermal xenotime and monazite supports structural studies that gold mineralization occurred during late transpressional events (D3–D4), shortly before cratonization. However, westward migration of collision and accretion produced a complementary diachroneity in the timing of gold mineralization of 5 to 20 m.y. between c. 2.65 Ma in the east (including Laverton District, Kurnalpi Terrane) to c. 2.63 Ma in the west (including Kalgoorlie Terrane) across the eastern part of the craton. The robust geochronology refutes previous suggestions that significant gold mineralization events extended from DE to D4 in the evolution of the orogen and that the Kalgoorlie gold deposits formed over a period of 45 m.y. The crustal continuum model is applicable within terranes where orogenic gold depositional events were penecontemporaneous, but must be modified to account for diachroneity of orogenic events and gold mineralization across the Eastern Goldfields.

Keywords

Orogenic gold SHRIMP geochronology Hydrothermal phosphates Eastern Goldfields Yilgarn craton Kalgoorlie 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research presented here was funded through support from AMIRA (Project P680) and an ARC Linkage grant, with geochronology carried out at the John de Laeter Centre at Curtin University, funded by a consortium of Federal and State government organizations and universities. The authors gratefully acknowledge the logistical and other support that they received during the project from the sponsoring companies, and also individual staff members on site, including Drs Gerard Tripp and Brett Davis for providing samples from Kundana and Bronzewing. Marion Marshall of MinSep Laboratories, Denmark, Western Australia, is also thanked for her advice on mineral separation. Drs Richard Vielreicher and Matthew Baggott are also acknowledged for their contribution towards sample collection and discussion on all things golden. NV wishes to also acknowledge support from Prof Fritz Finger at the University of Salzburg, Austria. We are indebted to Chief Editor Bernd Lehmann for inviting this paper and, together with Georges Beaudoin, for constructive comments for the improvement of the initially submitted manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Funding

This study was funded by AMIRA (Project P680) and an ARC Linkage grant.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All authors give full consent for this manuscript to be published.

Supplementary material

126_2015_589_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.6 mb)
ESM 1 ESM 1 to ESM 19 includes location and petrography information on samples from Kanowna Belle, Kundana, Bronzewing and Redeemer Gold Mines that are described in the text. (PDF 2620 kb)
126_2015_589_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (77 kb)
ESM 2 ESM 20 to 35 includes data tables from SHRIMP analyses of xenotime and/or monazite from samples from Kanowna Belle, Kundana, Bronzewing and Redeemer Gold Mines that are described in the text. (PDF 77 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noreen Vielreicher
    • 1
  • David Groves
    • 2
  • Neal McNaughton
    • 3
  • Ian Fletcher
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Material Science and PhysicsUniversity of SalzburgSalzburgAustria
  2. 2.Centre for Exploration TargetingUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.John de Laeter Centre for Isotope ResearchCurtin UniversityBentleyAustralia

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