Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 383–404 | Cite as

A Palaeoproterozoic multi-stage hydrothermal alteration system at Nalunaq gold deposit, South Greenland

  • Robin-Marie BellEmail author
  • Jochen Kolb
  • Tod Earle Waight
  • Leon Bagas
  • Tonny B. Thomsen


Nalunaq is an orogenic, high gold grade deposit situated on the Nanortalik Peninsula, South Greenland. Mineralisation is hosted in shear zone-controlled quartz veins, located in fine- and medium-grained amphibolite. The deposit was the site of Greenland’s only operating metalliferous mine until its closure in 2014, having produced 10.67 t of gold. This study uses a combination of field investigation, petrography and U/Pb zircon and titanite geochronology to define a multi-stage hydrothermal alteration system at Nalunaq. A clinopyroxene-plagioclase-garnet(-sulphide) alteration zone (CPGZ) developed in the Nanortalik Peninsula, close to regional peak metamorphism and prior to gold-quartz vein formation. The ca. 1783–1762-Ma gold-quartz veins are hosted in reactivated shear zones with a hydrothermal alteration halo of biotite-arsenopyrite-sericite-actinolite-pyrrhotite(-chlorite-plagioclase-löllingite-tourmaline-titanite), which is best developed in areas of exceptionally high gold grades. Aplite dykes dated to ca. 1762 Ma cross-cut the gold-quartz veins, providing a minimum age for mineralisation. A hydrothermal calcite-titanite alteration assemblage is dated to ca. 1766 Ma; however, this alteration is highly isolated, and as a result, its field relationships are poorly constrained. The hydrothermal alteration and mineralisation is cut by several generations of ca. 1745-Ma biotite granodiorite accompanied by brittle deformation. A ca. 1745-Ma lower greenschist facies hydrothermal epidote-calcite-zoisite alteration assemblage with numerous accessory minerals forms halos surrounding the late-stage fractures. The contrasting hydrothermal alteration styles at Nalunaq indicate a complex history of exhumation from amphibolite facies conditions to lower greenschist facies conditions in an orogenic belt which resembles modern Phanerozoic orogens.


Gold mineralisation Orogenic gold Multi-stage hydrothermal alteration Ketilidian Orogen South Greenland 



This paper was submitted as part of a Ph.D. thesis undertaken by RMB on the Nalunaq gold deposit, funded by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS) and Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen. Thanks are given to Simon Olsen for providing recent information on the status of Nalunaq gold mine. Mojagan Alaei and Olga Nielsen of GEUS are acknowledged for their assistance in preparing samples, and the staff at Curtin University are thanked for assistance with the preparation of zircon mounts. Thanks are also given to the Carlsberg Foundation, for funding project 2012_01_0081 for field work and zircon geochronology. Reviewers, Denis M. Schlatter and Ferenc Molnar, and editors, Robert Moritz and Georges Beaudoin, provided helpful comments which have greatly improved the quality of the manuscript. Finally, the staff of Angel Mining are thanked for their onsite assistance when collecting field samples and for sharing their extensive database of knowledge.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

126_2016_667_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (30 kb)
ESM 1 Table S1 Data tables of SHRIMP U/Pb zircon geochronology from granite samples in the Kirskespir valley. (XLSX 29 kb)
126_2016_667_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (351 kb)
ESM 2 Table S2 Data tables of LA-ICPMS U/Pb titanite geochronology from hydrothermal alteration zones in Nalunaq gold deposit. (XLSX 350 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin-Marie Bell
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jochen Kolb
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tod Earle Waight
    • 2
  • Leon Bagas
    • 3
  • Tonny B. Thomsen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Petrology and Economic GeologyGeological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)Copenhagen KDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management (Geology Section)University of CopenhagenCopenhagen KDenmark
  3. 3.Centre for Exploration TargetingThe University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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