Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 507–524 | Cite as

Textural characteristics and trace element distribution in carbonate-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag ores at the Paleoproterozoic Black Angel deposit, central West Greenland

  • S. HornEmail author
  • A. Dziggel
  • J. Kolb
  • S. Sindern


The Black Angel deposit represents the most important base metal deposit in Greenland, having produced 11.2 million tons of Pb-Zn-Ag ore from 1973 to 1990. The deposit is hosted by a greenschist facies calcitic marble of the Mârmorilik Formation of the Paleoproterozoic Karrat Group. The ore consists of sphalerite, pyrite, and galena, with minor amounts of chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite, tetrahedrite, freibergite, tennantite, stannite, briartite, rutile, and graphite. Pyrite occurs as porphyroclasts and as fine-grained euhedral grains and is commonly surrounded by sphalerite, galena, and chalcopyrite. Deformation textures such as pyrite annealing, fracture healing by sulfides as well as “Durchbewegung” textures are common. Electron microprobe analysis and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry trace element analysis show that tetrahedrite-freibergite and galena are enriched in Ag and represent the main Ag carriers. Galena also hosts substantial amounts of Sb, Sn, and Bi. The presence of Ge-rich chalcopyrite and briartite (Cu2(Zn,Fe)GeS4) inclusions in sphalerite indicates that the Black Angel deposit may be host to an hitherto unrecognized Ge endowment. It is suggested that sphalerite and briartite co-precipitated from a hydrothermal fluid having an intermediate sulfidation state. The origin of the deposit remains ambiguous. The calcitic host rock, epigenetic style of mineralization, presence of anhydrite, and occurrence of hydrothermal breccias are consistent with an origin as Mississippi Valley-type deposit. However, much of the mineralization is syn- to late-tectonic and syn-metamorphic, and the sulfide textures are consistent with a metamorphic overprint. An origin as carbonate-hosted polymetallic Kipushi-type deposit is thus more likely, since these deposits constitute the primary deposit type from which briartite has been previously documented.


Black Angel deposit Carbonate-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag deposit Trace element composition of sulfides Briartite Greenland 



This study presents the results of a M.Sc. project carried out by Stefan Horn at the Institute of Applied Mineralogy and Economic Geology at RWTH Aachen University. The samples used in this study were provided by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). We gratefully acknowledge the support of the GEUS team, especially Bjørn Thomassen for preparing the samples and providing additional information and Diogo Rosa for fruitful discussions on briartite and the origin of the Black Angel deposit. We would like to thank Associate Editor Thomas Monecke, Cora Wohlgemuth-Ueberwasser, and an anonymous reviewer for their valuable and constructive comments, which considerably improved the manuscript. Bernd Lehmann is thanked for editorial handling.

Supplementary material

126_2018_821_MOESM1_ESM.docx (28 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 27 kb)
126_2018_821_Fig11_ESM.png (4.9 mb)

(PNG 5064 kb)

126_2018_821_MOESM2_ESM.tiff (13.9 mb)
High resolution image (TIFF 14275 kb)
126_2018_821_MOESM3_ESM.docx (86 kb)
ESM 3 (DOCX 86 kb)
126_2018_821_MOESM4_ESM.docx (100 kb)
ESM 4 (DOCX 100 kb)
126_2018_821_MOESM5_ESM.xlsx (22 kb)
ESM 5 (XLSX 21 kb)
126_2018_821_MOESM6_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 6 (DOCX 15 kb)


  1. Barton PB, Bethke PM (1987) Chalcopyrite disease in sphalerite; pathology and epidemiology. Am Mineral 72:451–467Google Scholar
  2. Bellisont R, Boiron M, Luais B, Muchez P, de Oliveira D, Munoz M (2015) Germanium distribution and isotopic study in sulphides from MVT-related and VMS-remobilised ore deposits. In: André-Mayer AS, Cathelineau M, Muchez P, Pirard E, Sindern S (eds) Mineral resources in a sustainable world. Proceedings of the 13th Biennial SGA Meeting, Nancy, France, pp 683–686Google Scholar
  3. Bente K, Doering T (1993) Solid-state diffusion in sphalerites: an experimental verification of the "chalcopyrite disease". Eur J Mineral 5:465–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bente K, Doering T (1995) Experimental studies on the solid state diffusion of cu + in in ZnS and on “disease” DIS (diffusion induced segregations), in sphalerite and their geological applications. Mineral Petrol 53:285–305. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernstein LR (1985) Germanium geochemistry and mineralogy. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 49:2409–2422. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bodganov K, Tsonev D, Popov K (2004) Mineral assemblages and genesis of the cu-au epithermal deposits in the southern part of the Panaguyrishte ore district, Bulgaria. Bull Geol Soc Greece 36:406–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chetty D, Frimmel HE (2000) The role of evaporites in the genesis of base metal sulphide mineralisation in the northern platform of the Pan-African Damara Belt, Namibia: geochemical and fluid inclusion evidence from carbonate wall rock alteration. Mineral Deposita 35:364–376. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chutas NI, Kress VC, Ghiorso MS, Sack RO (2008) A solution model for high-temperature PbS-AgSbS2-AgBiS2 galena. Am Mineral 93:1630–1640. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Connelly JN, Thrane K, Krawiec AW, Garde AA (2006) Linking the Palaeoproterozoic Nagssugtoqidian and Rinkian orogens through the Disko Bugt region of West Greenland. J Geol Soc Lond 163:319–335. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cook NJ (1996) Mineralogy of the sulphide deposits at Sulitjelma, northern Norway. Ore Geol Rev 11:303–338. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cook NJ, Halls C, Boyle AP (1993) Deformation and metamorphism of massive sulphides at Sulitjelma, Norway. Mineral Mag 57:67–81. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cook NJ, Spry PG, Vokes FM (1998) Mineralogy and textural relationships among sulphosalts and related minerals in the Bleikvassli Zn-Pb-(cu) deposit, Nordland, Norway. Mineral Deposita 34:35–56. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cook NJ, Ciobanu CL, Pring A, Skinner W, Shimizu M, Danyushevsky L, Saini-Eidukat B, Melcher F (2009) Trace and minor elements in sphalerite: a LA-ICPMS study. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 73:4761–4791. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Corbella M, Ayora C, Cardellach E (2004) Hydrothermal mixing, carbonate dissolution and sulfide precipitation in Mississippi Valley-type deposits. Mineral Deposita 39:344–357. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Craig JR, Vokes FM (1993) The metamorphism of pyrite and pyritic ores: an overview. Mineral Mag 57:3–18. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Einaudi MT, Hedenquist JW, Inan EE (2003) Sulfidation state of fluids in active and extinct hydrothermal systems: transitions from porphyry to epithermal environments. Soc Econ Geol Spec P 10:285–314Google Scholar
  17. Emsbo P (2009) Geologic criteria for the assessment of sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) Zn-Pb-ag deposits. U.S. Geological Survey. Accessed 7 May 2018
  18. Francotte J, Moreau J, Ottenburgs R, Levy C (1965) La briartite, Cu2(Fe, Zn)GeS4, une nouvelle espèce minérale. Bull Soc Fr Mineral Cristallogr 88:432–437Google Scholar
  19. Frenzel M, Hirsch T, Gutzmer J (2016) Gallium, germanium, indium, and other trace and minor elements in sphalerite as a function of deposit type — a meta-analysis. Ore Geol Rev 76:52–78. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frost BR, Mavrogenes JA, Tomkins AG (2002) Partial melting of sulfide ore deposits during medium- and high-grade metamorphism. Can Mineral 40:1–18. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Galley AG, Hannington MD, Jonasson IR (2007) Volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits. In: Goodfellow WD (ed) Mineral deposits of Canada: A synthesis of major deposit-types, district metallogeny, the evolution of geological provinces, and exploration methods: Geological Association of Canada, Mineral Deposits Division Special Publication 5, St. Johns, pp 141–161Google Scholar
  22. Garde AA (1978) The lower Proterozoic Marmorilik formation, east of Mârmorilik, West Greenland. Meddr Gronland 200, 71pGoogle Scholar
  23. George L, Cook NJ, Ciobanu CL, Wade BP (2015) Trace and minor elements in galena: a reconnaissance LA-ICP-MS study. Am Mineral 100:548–569. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. George LL, Cook NJ, Ciobanu CL (2016) Partitioning of trace elements in co-crystallized sphalerite–galena–chalcopyrite hydrothermal ores. Ore Geol Rev 77:97–116. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gilligan LB, Marshall B (1987) Textural evidence for remobilization in metamorphic environments. Ore Geol Rev 2:205–229. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Greenex A/S (1990) Mine maps of Maarmorilik. Modified by geological survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)Google Scholar
  27. Grocott J, McCaffrey KJW (2017) Basin evolution and destruction in an early Proterozoic continental margin: the Rinkian fold and thrust belt of central West Greenland. J Geol Soc Lond 174:453–467. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Grocott J, Pulvertaft T (1990) The early Proterozoic Rinkian belt of central West Greenland. In: Lewry JF, Stauffer MR (eds) The early Proterozoic trans-Hudson Orogen of North America, Geological Association of Canada Special Paper 37, pp 443–463Google Scholar
  29. Hattendorf B (2000) Worksheet for LA-ICPMS analysis: Microsoft excel. In: Laboratory of inorganic chemistry. ETH Zürich, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  30. Henderson G, Pulvertaft T (1967) The stratigraphy and structure of the Precambrian rocks of the Umanak area, West Greenland. Medd Dansk Geol Føren 17:1–20Google Scholar
  31. Hoeller W, Gandhi SM (1995) Silver-bearing sulfosalts from the metamorphosed Rampura Agucha Zn-Pb-(ag) deposit, Rajasthan, India. Can Mineral 33:1047–1057Google Scholar
  32. Höll R, Kling M, Schroll E (2007) Metallogenesis of germanium—a review. Ore Geol Rev 30:145–180. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kamona AF, Friedrich GH (2007) Geology, mineralogy and stable isotope geochemistry of the Kabwe carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn deposit, Central Zambia. Ore Geol Rev 30:217–243. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kamona AF, Lévêque J, Friedrich G, Haack U (1999) Lead isotopes of the carbonate-hosted Kabwe, Tsumeb, and Kipushi Pb-Zn-cu sulphide deposits in relation to Pan African orogenesis in the Damaran-Lufilian Fold Belt of Central Africa. Mineral Deposita 34:273–283. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kampunzu AB, Cailteux J, Kamona AF, Intiomale MM, Melcher F (2009) Sediment-hosted Zn–Pb–cu deposits in the central African Copperbelt. Ore Geol Rev 35:263–297. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kolb J, Keiding JK, Steenfelt A, Secher K, Keulen N, Rosa D, Stensgaard BM (2016) Metallogeny of Greenland. Ore Geol Rev 78:493–555. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Leach DL, Landis GP, Hofstra AH (1988) Metamorphic origin of the Coeur d’Alene base- and precious-metal veins in the belt basin, Idaho and Montana. Geology 16:122–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Leach DL, Sangster DF, Kelley KD, Ross RL, Garven G, Allen CR (2005) Sediment-hosted Pb-Zn deposits: a global perspective. Econ Geol 100:561–608Google Scholar
  39. Leach DL, Taylor RD, Fey DL, Diehl SF, Saltus RW (2010a) A deposit model for Mississippi Valley-type lead-zinc ores: Chapter A in Mineral deposit models for resource assessment. Scientific Investigations Report (2010–5070-A), 43pGoogle Scholar
  40. Leach DL, Bradley DC, Huston D, Pisarevsky SA, Taylor RD, Gardoll SJ (2010b) Sediment-hosted lead-zinc deposits in earth history. Econ Geol 105:593–625. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lockington JA, Cook NJ, Ciobanu CL (2014) Trace and minor elements in sphalerite from metamorphosed sulphide deposits. Mineral Petrol 108:873–890. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Melcher F (2003) The Otavi Mountain land in Namibia: Tsumeb, germanium and snowball earth. Mitt Österr Miner Ges 148:413–435Google Scholar
  43. Paar WH, Putz H (2005) Germanium associated with epithermal mineralization: examples from Bolivia and Argentina. In: Mao J, Bierlein FP (eds) Mineral deposit research: meeting the global challenge, v 3. Beijing, pp 48–51Google Scholar
  44. Pedersen FD (1980) Remobilization of the massive sulfide ore of the black angel mine, central West Greenland. Econ Geol 75:1022–1041. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Pedersen FD (1981) Polyphase deformation of the massive sulphide ore of the black angel mine, central West Greenland. Mineral Deposita 16:157–176. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Pesquera A, Velasco F (1993) Ore metamorphism in sulfide mineralizations from the Cinco villas massif (western Pyrenees, Spain). Econ Geol 88:266–282. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Petersen S, Monecke T, Westhues A, Hannington MD, Gemmell JB, Sharpe R, Peters M, Strauss H, Lackschewitz K, Augustin N, Gibson H, Kleeberg R (2014) Drilling shallow-water massive sulfides at the Palinuro volcanic complex, Aeolian Island arc, Italy. Econ Geol 109:2129–2158. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Reiser FK, Rosa DR, Pinto ÁM, Carvalho JR, Matos JX, Guimarães FM, Alves LC, de ODP (2011) Mineralogy and geochemistry of tin- and germanium-bearing copper ore, Barrigão re-mobilized vein deposit, Iberian Pyrite Belt, Portugal. Int Geol Rev 53:1212–1238. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Riley JF (1974) The tetrahedrite-freibergite series, with reference to the Mount Isa Pb-Zn-ag orebody. Mineral Deposita 9:117–124. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Rosa D, Guarnieri P, Hollis J, Kolb J, Partin C, Petersen J, Sørensen EV, Thomassen B, Thomsen L, Thrane K (2016) Architecture and mineral potential of the Paleoproterozoic Karrat group, West Greenland: results of the 2015 season. Geological survey of Denmark and Greenland, Report, 2017/5, 112 pGoogle Scholar
  51. Rosa D, Dewolfe M, Guarnieri P, Kolb J, Laflamme C, Partin C, Salehi S, Sørensen EV, Thaarup S, Thrane K, Zimmermann R (2017) Architecture and mineral potential of the Paleoproterozoic Karrat group, West Greenland: results of the 2016 season. Geological survey of Denmark and Greenland, Report, 2016/12, 98 pGoogle Scholar
  52. Sahlström F, Arribas A, Dirks P, Corral I, Chang Z (2017) Mineralogical distribution of germanium, gallium and indium at the Mt Carlton high-sulfidation epithermal deposit, NE Australia, and comparison with similar deposits worldwide. Mineral Basel 7:213. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sanborn-Barrie M, Thrane K, Wodicka N, Rayner N (2017) The Laurentia–West Greenland connection at 1.9 Ga: new insights from the Rinkian fold belt. Gondwana Res 51:289–309. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stevens G, Prinz S, Rozendaal A (2005) Partial melting of the assemblage sphalerite + galena + pyrrothite + chalcopyrite + sulfur: implications for high-grade metamorphosed massive sulfide deposits. Econ Geol 100:781–786. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. St-Onge MR, van Gool JAM, Garde AA, Scott DJ (2009) Correlation of Archaean and Palaeoproterozoic units between northeastern Canada and western Greenland: constraining the pre-collisional upper plate accretionary history of the trans-Hudson orogen. In: Cawood PA, Kröner A (eds.) Earth Accretionary Systems in Space and Time, The Geological Society, London 318. pp 193–235.
  56. Sugaki A, Kitakaze A, Kojima S (1987) Bulk compositions of intimate intergrowths of chalcopyrite and sphalerite and their genetic implications. Mineral Deposita 22:26–32. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Taylor PN, Kalsbeek F (1990) Dating the metamorphism of Precambrian marbles: examples from Proterozoic mobile belts in Greenland. Chem Geol 86:21–28. Google Scholar
  58. Thomassen B (2006) The black angel lead-zinc mine at Maarmorilik in West Greenland. Geology and Ore (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland) 2, 12pGoogle Scholar
  59. Thrane K, Baker J, Connelly J, Nutman A (2005) Age, petrogenesis and metamorphism of the syn-collisional Prøven igneous complex, West Greenland. Contrib Mineral Petrol 149:541–555. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tomkins AG, Pattison DRM, Frost BR (2006) On the initiation of metamorphic sulfide anatexis. J Petrol 48:511–535. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Trueman EAG (1998) Carbonate hosted Cu±Pb±Zn in geological fieldwork 1997. British Columbia Ministry of Employment and Investment (Paper 1998–1), pp 24B-1–24B-4Google Scholar
  62. van Gool JA, Connelly JN, Marker M, Mengel FC (2002) The Nagssugtoqidian Orogen of West Greenland: tectonic evolution and regional correlations from a West Greenland perspective. Can J Earth Sci 39:665–686. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vokes FM (1969) A review of the metamorphism of sulphide deposits. Earth Sci Rev 5:99–143. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vokes FM, Craig JR (1993) Post-recrystallisation mobilisation phenomena in metamorphosed stratabound sulphide ores. Mineral Mag 57:19–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wilson SA, Ridley WI, Koenig AE (2002) Development of sulfide calibration standards for the laser ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry technique. J Anal At Spectrom 17:406–409. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wu S, Mao J, Yuan S, Dai P, Wang X (2018) Mineralogy, fluid inclusion petrography, and stable isotope geochemistry of Pb–Zn–ag veins at the Shizhuyuan deposit, Hunan Province, southeastern China. Mineral Deposita 53:89–103. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Applied Mineralogy and Economic GeologyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Petrology and Economic GeologyGeological Survey of Denmark and GreenlandCopenhagen KDenmark
  3. 3.Institute of Applied GeosciencesKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany

Personalised recommendations