Mineralogy and titanite geochronology of the Caojiaba W deposit, Xiangzhong metallogenic province, southern China: implications for a distal reduced skarn W formation

  • Guiqing XieEmail author
  • Jingwen Mao
  • Leon Bagas
  • Bin Fu
  • Zhiyuan Zhang


The Caojiaba tungsten deposit (19.03 Mt@ 0.37 wt% WO3) is hosted by skarn along the contact between clastic and carbonate rocks in the Xiangzhong Metallogenic Province of southern China. The deposit is characterized by an early prograde skarn containing low andraditic garnet (Ad0.7–21.9) and hedenbergitic pyroxene (Hd52.9–77.3) overprinted by a retrograde biotite–chlorite assemblage and then by quartz–scheelite veins, similar to well-studied reduced tungsten skarns worldwide. Scheelite has low MoO3 (0.01–0.16 wt%), and ore commonly contains up to 1.5 ppm Au and up to 0.33 wt% Sb. Sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (SHRIMP) U–Pb analyses of hydrothermal titanite coexisting with scheelite in three skarn ore samples provide ages between 206 ± 5 Ma and 196 ± 3 Ma (2σ). Our new ages demonstrate that the tungsten mineralization took place at Caojiaba between 206 and 196 Ma, overlapping the 228–201 Ma emplacement age of granitic rocks in the Xiangzhong Metallogenic Province. Mineralogical and geochronological evidence collectively indicates that Caojiaba is a distal reduced W skarn deposit. The 226–196 Ma granite-related W mineralization recognized throughout the province has a possible link with the widespread Sb–Au mineralization in the region.


Caojiaba Distal reduced skarn Tungsten deposit Titanite dating South China 



This work was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB440902) and the National Science Foundation of China (41573042, 41430314 and 41372090). We thank the No. 407 Geological Team of the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Exploration and Development of Hunan Province. We also thank Dr. Zhu Qiaoqiao, Li Wei, Chen Zhenyu, Chen Lei, and Chen Xiaodan for their assistance during fieldwork and analyses. Associate Editor Rolf Romer, Editor Georges Beaudoin, Richard Tosdal, and an anonymous reviewer are thanked for constructive reviews that greatly improved the quality of this paper. We truly appreciate the constructive comments and detailed editing by Richard Goldfarb.

Supplementary material

126_2018_816_MOESM1_ESM.doc (120 kb)
ESM 1 Compilation of isotopic ages for Late Triassic granitic rocks and tungsten deposits in XZMP in southern China (DOC 120 kb)
126_2018_816_MOESM2_ESM.xls (54 kb)
ESM 2 Electron probe microanalysis results (wt%) of garnet, pyroxene, titanite, and scheelite from the Caojiaba tungsten deposit (XLS 54 kb)
126_2018_816_MOESM3_ESM.doc (224 kb)
ESM 3 SHRIMP U–Pb isotopic data of titanite from the Caojiaba tungsten deposit (DOC 224 kb)


  1. Aleinikoff JN, Wintsch R, Fanning CM, Dorais M (2002) U–Pb geochronology of zircon and polygenetic titanite from the Glastonbury Complex, Connecticut, USA: an integrated SEM, EMPA, TIMS, and SHRIMP study. Chem Geol 188:125–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aleinikoff JN, Wintsch R, Tollo RP, Unruh DM, Fanning CM, Schmitz MD (2007) Ages and origins of rocks of the Killingworth dome, south–central Connecticut: implications for the tectonic evolution of southern New England. Am J Sci 307:63–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boyle RW (1979) The geochemistry of gold and its deposits. Geol Surv Can Bull 280:1–584Google Scholar
  4. Cave BJ, K. Pitcairn I, Craw D, Large RR, Thompson JM, Johnson S C (2017) A metamorphic mineral source for tungsten in the turbidite-hosted orogenic gold deposits of the Otago Schist, New Zealand Mineralium Deposita 52: 515–537Google Scholar
  5. Che XD, Linnen RL, Wang RC, Groat LA, Brand AA (2013) Distribution of trace and rare earth elements in titanite from tungsten and molybdenum deposits in Yukon and British Columbia, Canada. Can Mineral 51:415–438CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chiaradia M, Vallance J, Fontboté L, Stein H, Schaltegger U, Coder J, Richards J, Villeneuve M, Gendall I (2009) U–Pb, Re–Os, and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of the Nambija Au–skarn and Pangui porphyry Cu deposits, Ecuador: implications for the Jurassic metallogenic belt of the Northern Andes. Mineral Deposita 44:371–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chu Y, Lin W, Faure M, Wang QC, Ji WB (2012a) Phanerozoic tectonothermal events of the Xuefengshan Belt, central South China: implications from U–Pb age and Lu–Hf determinations of granites. Lithos 150:243–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chu Y, Faure M, Lin W, Wang Q, Ji WB (2012b) Tectonics of the Middle Triassic intracontinental Xuefengshan Belt, South China: new insights from structural and chronological constraints on the basal décollement zone. Int J Earth Sci 101:2125–2150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Deng XD, Li JW, Zhou MF, Zhao XF, Yan DR (2015) In–situ LA–ICPMS trace elements and U–Pb analysis of titanite from the Mesozoic Ruanjiawan W–Cu–Mo skarn deposit, Daye district, China. Ore Geology Rev 65:990–1004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Einaudi MT, Meinert LD, Newberry RJ (1981) Skarn deposits. Economic Geology 75th Anniversary Volume: 317–391Google Scholar
  11. Frost B, Chamberlain K, Schumacher J (2000) Sphene (titanite): phase relations and role as a geochronometer. Chem Geol 172:131–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fu SL, Hu RZ, Bi XW, Chen YW, Yang JH, Huang Y (2015) Origin of Triassic granites in central Hunan Province, South China: constraints from zircon U–Pb ages and Hf and O isotopes. Int Geol Rev 57:97–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fu Y, Sun X, Zhou H, Lin H, Yang T (2016a) In-situ LA–ICP–MS U–Pb geochronology and trace elements analysis of polygenetic titanite from the giant Beiya gold–polymetallic deposit in Yunnan Province, Southwest China. Ore Geol Rev 77:43–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fu SL, Hu RZ, Chen YW, Luo JC (2016b) Chronology of the Longshan Au–Sb deposit in central Hunan Province: constraints from pyrite Re–Os and zircon U–Th/He isotopic dating. Acta Petrol Sin 32:3507–3517 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  15. Goldfarb RJ, Groves DI (2015) Orogenic gold common or evolving fluid and metal sources through time. Lithos 233:2–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. HNBGMR (Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources of Hunan Province) (1988) Regional geology of the Hunan Province. Geological Publishing House, Beijing (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  17. HNBGMR (Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources of Hunan Province) (2015) Geology of tungsten deposit in Tanxi mining area, Xinshao County, Hunan Province. China. Unpublished research Report (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  18. Hu RZ, Fu SL, Huang Y, Xiao JF (2017a) The giant South China Mesozoic low–temperature metallogenic domain: reviews and a new geodynamic model. J Asian Earth Sci 137:9–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hu H, Li JW, McFarlane CRM (2017b) Hydrothermal titanite from the Chengchao iron skarn deposit: temporal constraints on iron mineralization, and its potential as a reference material for titanite U–Pb dating. Mineral Petrol 111:593–608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hu H, Li JW, McFarlane CRM, Luo Y, McCarron T (2017c) Textures, trace element compositions, and U–Pb ages of titanite from the mangling granitoid pluton, east Qinling Orogen: implications for magma mixing and destruction of the North China Craton. Lithos 284–285:50–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hu RZ, Zhou MF (2012) Multiple Mesozoic mineralization events in South China—an introduction to the thematic issue. Mineral Deposita 47:579–588CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Jiang P, Yang KF, Fan HR, Liu X, Cai YC, Yang YH (2016) Titanite-scale insights into multistage magma mixing in early cretaceous of NW Jiaodong terrane, North China Craton. Lithos 258–259:197–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kong LB, Lyu SJ, Li YD (2014) Geological characteristics and ore-searching prospect of the Shaxi tungsten deposit in Chongyangping, Hunan Province. Geol Miner Resour South China 30:375–382 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  24. Kwak TAP (1987) W–Sn skarn deposits and related metamorphic skarns and granitoids. Dev Econ Geol 24:1–450Google Scholar
  25. Lang JR, Baker T (2001) Intrusion–related gold systems: the present level of understanding. Mineral Deposita 36:477–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Li JW, Deng XD, Zhou MF, Liu YS, Zhao XF, Guo JL (2010) Laser ablation ICP–MS titanite U–Th–Pb dating of hydrothermal ore deposits: a case study of the Tonglushan Cu–Fe–Au skarn deposit, SE Hubei Province, China. Chem Geol 270:56–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Liu JS (1996) Relationship between felsic dikes and antimony–gold mineralization in central Hunan Province. Geol Explor Non–Ferrous Met 5:321–326 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  28. Ludwig K (2012) User’s manual for Isoplot version 3.75–4.15: a geochronological toolkit for Microsoft. Excel Berkley Geochronological Center Special Publication, 5Google Scholar
  29. Luo SC, Shu CL (2017) The geological features and relationship of the Muguayuan tungsten-gold deposit in Taojiang, Hunan. Mine Eng Constr 2017(2):98–99 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  30. Mao JW, Cheng YB, Chen MH, Pirajno F (2013) Major types and time–space distribution of Mesozoic ore deposits in South China and their geodynamic settings. Mineral Deposita 48:267–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Meinert LD, Dipple GM, Nicolescu S (2005) World skarn deposits. Economic Geology 100th Anniversary: 299–336Google Scholar
  32. Newberry RJ (1998) W- and Sn-skarn deposits: a 1998 status report. Mineralogical Association of Canada short course series 26: 289–335Google Scholar
  33. Peng B, Frei R (2004) Nd–Sr–Pb isotopic constraints on metal and fluid sources in W–Sb–Au mineralization at Woxi and Liaojiaping (Western Hunan, China). Mineral Deposita 39:313–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Poulin RS, McDonald AM, Kontak DJ, McClenaghan MB (2016) On the relationship between cathodoluminescence and the chemical composition of scheelite from geologically diverse ore-deposit environments. Can Mineral 54:1147–1173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Qian YQ, Jiang SG (1983) The discovery and geological characteristics of the Caojiaba stratabound scheelite skarn deposit at Xinshao, Hunan. Hunan Geol 2:26–35 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  36. Raith JG, Stein HJ (2000) Re–Os dating and sulfur isotope composition of molybdenite from tungsten deposits in western Namaqualand, South Africa: implications for ore genesis and the timing of metamorphism. Mineral Deposita 35:741–753CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rao JR, Luo JL, Yi ZJ (1999) The mantle–crustal tectonic metallogenic model and ore–prospecting prognosis in the Xikuangshan antimony ore field. Geophys Geochem Explor 23:241–249 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  38. Romer RL, Kroner U (2016) Phanerozoic tin and tungsten mineralization—tectonic controls on the distribution of enriched protoliths and heat sources for crustal melting. Gondwana Res 31:60–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Romer RL, Kroner U (2018) Paleozoic gold in the Appalachians and Variscides. Ore Geol Rev 92:475–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Romer RL, Öhlander B (1994) U–Pb age of the Yxsjöberg tungsten–skarn deposit, Sweden. GFF 116:161–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Stacey JS, Kramers JD (1975) Approximation of terrestrial lead isotope evolution by a two–stage model. Earth Planet Sci Lett 26:207–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Su KM, Lv SJ, Kong LB, Yang FQ, Xiang JF (2016) Geological characteristics, metallogenetic regularity and model of quartz vein type tungsten deposits in Chongyangping, Hunan Province. Mineral Deposits 35:902–912 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  43. Tang SL, Yan DP, Qiu L, Gao JF, Wang CL (2014) Partitioning of the cretaceous Pan–Yangtze Basin in the central South China block by exhumation of the Xuefeng Mountains during a transition from extensional to compressional tectonics. Gondwana Res 25:1644–1659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tang YM, Zhao QH, Luo SC (2016) Geological charactertics and metallogenetic regularity of the Muguayuan porphyry tungsten deposit in Taojiang, Hunan. Western Resouces (3): 94–95 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  45. Thompson JFH, Sillitoe RH, Baker T, Lang JR, Mortensen JK (1999) Intrusion–related gold deposits associated with tungsten–tin provinces. Mineral Deposita 34:323–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Xie GQ, Mao JW, Li WFB, Zhang ZY (2018) Granite–related Yangjiashan tungsten deposit, southern China. Mineral Deposita.
  47. Zaw K, Singoyi B (2000) Formation of magnetite–scheelite skarn mineralization at Kara, northwestern Tasmania: evidence from mineral chemistry and stable isotopes. Econ Geol 95:1215–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Zhang LS (2013) Skarn and ore genesis of the Darongxi tungsten deposit, western Hunan. Dissertation, Central South University (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  49. Zhang LS, Peng JT, Hu AX, Lin FM, Zhang T (2014) Re–Os dating of molybdenite from Darongxi tungsten deposit in western Hunan and its geological implications. Mineral Deposits 33:181–189 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  50. Zhang ZY, Xie GQ, Mao JW, Liu WG, Zhu QQ, Li W (2018) Sm–Nd dating and trace element geochemistry of scheelite for the Xiejiashan Sb–Au–W deposit in the Xiangzhong metallogenic province, southern China. In preparationGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhang ZY, Xie GQ, Zhu QQ, Li W, Han YX, Wang FL (2016) Mineralogical characteristics of skarns in the Caojiaba large tungsten deposit of central Hunan Province and their geological significance. Mineral Deposits 35:335–348 (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  52. Zhao WW, Zhou MF, Li YHM, Zhao Z, Gao JF (2017) Genetic types, mineralization styles, and geodynamic settings of Mesozoic tungsten deposits in South China. J Asian Earth Sci 137:109–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zhu YN, Peng JT (2015) Infrared microthermometric and noble gas isotope study of fluid inclusions in ore minerals at the Woxi orogenic Au–Sb–W deposit, western Hunan, South China. Ore Geol Rev 65:55–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guiqing Xie
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jingwen Mao
    • 1
  • Leon Bagas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bin Fu
    • 3
  • Zhiyuan Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Metallogeny and Mineral Assessment, Ministry of Land and Resources of the People’s Republic of China (MLR), Institute of Mineral ResourcesChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Centre for Exploration TargetingThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  3. 3.Research School of Earth SciencesThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations