Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 51, Issue 6, pp 749–780 | Cite as

A salt diapir-related Mississippi Valley-type deposit: the Bou Jaber Pb-Zn-Ba-F deposit, Tunisia: fluid inclusion and isotope study

  • Salah BouhlelEmail author
  • David L. Leach
  • Craig A. Johnson
  • Erin Marsh
  • Sihem Salmi-Laouar
  • David A. Banks


The Bou Jaber Ba-F-Pb-Zn deposit is located at the edge of the Bou Jaber Triassic salt diapir in the Tunisia Salt Diapir Province. The ores are unconformity and fault-controlled and occur as subvertical column-shaped bodies developed in dissolution-collapse breccias and in cavities within the Late Aptian platform carbonate rocks, which are covered unconformably by impermeable shales and marls of the Fahdene Formation (Late Albian–Cenomanian age). The host rock is hydrothermally altered to ankerite proximal to and within the ore bodies. Quartz, as fine-grained bipyramidal crystals, formed during hydrothermal alteration of the host rocks. The ore mineral assemblage is composed of barite, fluorite, sphalerite, and galena in decreasing abundance. The ore zones outline distinct depositional events: sphalerite-galena, barite-ankerite, and fluorite. Fluid inclusions, commonly oil-rich, have distinct fluid salinities and homogenization temperatures for each of these events: sphalerite-galena (17 to 24 wt% NaCl eq., and Th from 112 to 136 °C); ankerite-barite (11 to 17 wt% NaCl eq., and Th from 100 to 130 °C); fluorite (19 to 21 wt% NaCl eq., Th from 140 to 165 °C). The mean temperature of the ore fluids decreased from sphalerite (125 °C) to barite (115 °C) and increased during fluorite deposition (152 °C); then decreased to ∼110 °C during late calcite precipitation. Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) analyses of fluid inclusions in fluorite are metal rich (hundreds to thousands ppm Pb, Zn, Cu, Fe) but the inclusions in barite are deficient in Pb, Zn, Cu, Fe. Inclusions in fluorite have Cl/Br and Na/Br ratios of several thousand, consistent with dissolution of halite while the inclusions analysed in barite have values lower than seawater which are indicative of a Br-enriched brine derived from evaporation plus a component of halite dissolution. The salinity of the barite-hosted fluid inclusions is less than obtained simply by the evaporation of seawater to halite saturation and requires a dilution of more than two times by meteoric water. The higher K/Na values in fluid inclusions from barite suggest that the brines interacted with K-rich rocks in the basement or siliciclastic sediments in the basin. Carbonate gangue minerals (ankerite and calcite) have δ13C and δ18O values that are close to the carbonate host rock and indicate fluid equilibrium between carbonate host rocks and hydrothermal brines. The δ34S values for sphalerite and galena fall within a narrow range (1 to 10 ‰) with a bulk value of 7.5 ‰, indicating a homogeneous source of sulfur. The δ34S values of barite are also relatively homogeneous (22 ‰), with 6 ‰ higher than the δ34S of local and regional Triassic evaporites (15 ‰). The latter are believed to be the source of sulfate. Temperature of deposition together with sulfur isotope data indicate that the reduced sulfur in sulfides was derived through thermochemical sulfate reduction of Triassic sulfate via hydrocarbons produced probably from Late Cretaceous source rocks. The 87Sr/86Sr ratio in the Bou Jaber barite (0.709821 to 0.711408) together with the lead isotope values of Bou Jaber galena (206Pb/204Pb = 18.699 to 18.737; 207Pb/204Pb = 15.635 to 15.708 and 208Pb/204Pb = 38.321 to 38.947) show that metals were extracted from homogeneous crustal source(s). The tectonic setting of the Bou Jaber ore deposit, the carbonate nature of the host rocks, the epigenetic style of the mineralization and the mineral associations, together with sulfur and oxygen isotope data and fluid inclusion data show that the Bou Jaber lead-zinc mineralization has the major characteristics of a salt diapir-related Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) deposit with superimposed events of fluorite and of barite deposition. Field relations are consistent with mineral deposition during the Eocene–Miocene Alpine orogeny from multiple hydrothermal events: (1) Zn-Pb sulfides formed by mixing of two fluids: one fluid metal-rich but reduced sulfur-poor and a second fluid reduced sulfur-rich; (2) barite precipitation involved the influx of a meteoric water component that mixed with a barium-rich fluid; and (3) fluorite precipitated from a highly saline fluid with higher temperatures.


Fluid inclusions Laser ablation ICP-MS C, O, S, Sr, Pb isotopes Diapir-related MVT Ba-F-Pb-Zn deposit Bou Jaber Tunisia 



We wish to thank Fethi M’Barek, director of the Bou Jaber mine, for his assistance to allow underground sampling. We wish also to thank Cyndi Kester, for assistance during the C, O, and S isotope analysis. The authors thank the following individuals for helpful discussions on the geology and halokinesis of the Tunisian Salt Diapir Province: Habib Belayouni, Saïd Tlig; Ali Zaier from the University of Tunis El Manar; Ahmed Braham from the Office National des Mines Tunisia and S.M.F. Sheppard from CRPG Nancy and ENS Lyon. Discussions with Pr. Habib Belayouni on the organic matter and mineralization relationships were very helpful. Karen Kelley from the USGS Denver and Bernd Lehman from Technical University of Clausthal are thanked for their constructive discussion and comments on the initial manuscript. Financial aid was provided to Salah Bouhlel by a research grant from the CIES/USA, Fulbright program.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Salah Bouhlel
    • 1
    Email author
  • David L. Leach
    • 2
  • Craig A. Johnson
    • 3
  • Erin Marsh
    • 3
  • Sihem Salmi-Laouar
    • 4
  • David A. Banks
    • 5
  1. 1.Earth Sciences Department, Faculty of Sciences of Tunis, UR11ES16University of Tunis el ManarTunisTunisia
  2. 2.Department of Geology and Geological EngineeringColorado School of MinesGoldenUSA
  3. 3.US Geological SurveyDenverUSA
  4. 4.University of Badji Mokhtar AnnabaAnnabaAlgeria
  5. 5.School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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