Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The multiple sulfur isotope architecture of the Golden Mile and Mount Charlotte deposits, Western Australia

  • 454 Accesses

  • 2 Citations


The Golden Mile and Mount Charlotte deposits in the Kalgoorlie Terrane, Western Australia, display three main mineralization styles: Fimiston, comprised of interconnected shear zones associated with ankerite-pyrite ± hematite- ± magnetite-gold-telluride alteration; Oroya, made up of breccia bodies with V-muscovite-ankerite-pyrite ± pyrrhotite-gold-telluride alteration; and Mount Charlotte, which consists of vein arrays with symmetrical ankerite-sericite-albite-pyrite ± pyrrhotite ± gold alteration. Pyrite is in equilibrium with gold in all three mineralization styles and has been selected as a proxy to record the sulfur source of the mineralizing fluids as well as the nature of the hydrothermal processes. The δ34S, Δ33S, and Δ36S analyses on pyrite grains from the different mineralization styles, including oxidized and reduced sulfide-oxide assemblages, reveal (1) a large variation in δ34S (from − 12.6 to + 23.5‰), and (2) a previously unrecognized occurrence of anomalous Δ33S and Δ36S signatures (from − 1.0 to + 1.1‰ and from − 2.3 to + 0.9‰, respectively). It is argued that the mineralizing fluids that formed the Golden Mile and Mount Charlotte deposits record mixing among three components: mantle sulfur, oxidized seawater sulfur (e.g., SO4), and reduced elemental sulfur (e.g., S8). Petrographic evidence in conjunction with Δ33S and Δ36S data suggest that MIF-S was acquired during the deposition of shales and basalts present in the Kalgoorlie Terrane and later mixed with mantle-derived sulfur during the mineralization events. The negative δ34S values that predominate in Fimiston style mineralization are consistent with a prevalence of oxidized fluids during the ore-forming process, as reflected by the presence of hematite-pyrite-magnetite-gold assemblages. Conversely, the positive δ34S values that dominate in the Mt Charlotte and Oroya mineralization styles reflect a reducing environment, as reflected by the presence of pyrite-pyrrhotite-gold assemblages.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15


  1. Agangi A, Hofmann A, Eickmann B, Marin-Carbonne J, Reddy S (2016) An atmospheric source of S in Mesoarchaean structurally-controlled gold mineralisation of the Barberton Greenstone Belt. Precambrian Res 285:10–20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2016.09.004

  2. Bateman R, Hagemann SG (2004) Gold mineralisation throughout about 45 Ma of Archaean orogenesis: protracted flux of gold in the Golden Mile, Yilgarn craton, Western Australia. Mineral Deposita 39:536–559

  3. Bateman R, Costa S, Swe T, Lambert D (2001) Archaean mafic magmatism in the Kalgoorlie area of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia: a geochemical and Nd isotopic study of the petrogenetic and tectonic evolution of a greenstone belt. Precambrian Res 108:75–115

  4. Bekker A, Barley ME, Fiorentini ML, Rouxel OJ, Rumble D, Beresford SW (2009) Atmospheric sulfur in Archean komatiite-hosted nickel deposits. Science 326:1086–1089. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1177742

  5. Blewett R, Cassidy K, Champion D, Henson P, Goleby B, Kalinowski A (2004) An orogenic surge model for the eastern Yilgarn Craton: implications for gold mineralising systems. In: Muhling J et al (eds) SEG 2004, predictive mineral discovery under cover, vol. 33. Centre for Global Metallogeny, The University of Western Australia, Perth, pp 321–324

  6. Blewett RS, Czarnota K, Henson PA (2010) Structural-event framework for the eastern Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, and its implications for orogenic gold. Precambrian Res 183:203–229. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2010.04.004

  7. Cameron EM, Hattori K (1987) Archean gold mineralization and oxidized hydrothermal fluids. Econ Geol 82:1177–1191

  8. Canfield DE (2004) The evolution of the earth surface sulfur reservoir. Am J Sci 304:839–861. https://doi.org/10.2475/ajs.304.10.839

  9. Caruso S, Fiorentini ML, Moroni M, Martin LAJ (2017) Evidence of magmatic degassing in Archean komatiites: insights from the Wannaway nickel-sulfide deposit, Western Australia. Earth Planet Sci Lett 479:252–262. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2017.09.035

  10. Cassidy KF, Champion DC, Krapez B, Barley ME, Brown SJA, Blewett RS, Groenewald PB Tyler IM (2006) A revised geological framework for the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Record (Geological Survey of Western Australia), 2006/8. Geological Survey of Western Australia, Perth

  11. Champion DC, Cassidy KF (2000) Chapter 8: overview of the Yilgarn Craton magmatism: implications for crustal development. In: Cassidy KF, Champion DC, McNaughton NJ, Fletcher IR, Whitaker AJ, Bastrova IV, Budd AR (eds) 1 The Characterisation and Metallogenic Significance of Archaean Granitoids of the Yilgarn Craton. AMIRA Project 482/MERIWA Project 222

  12. Champion DC, Sheraton JW (1997) Geochemistry and Nd isotope systematics of Archaean granites of the Eastern Goldfields, Yilgarn Craton, Australia: implications for crustal growth processes. Precambrian Res 83:109–132

  13. Chang Z, Large RR, Maslennikov V (2008) Sulfur isotopes in sediment-hosted orogenic gold deposits: evidence for an early timing and a seawater sulfur source. Geology 36:971–974. https://doi.org/10.1130/G25001A

  14. Chen M, Campbell IH, Xue Y, Tian W, Ireland TR, Holden P, Cas RAF, Hayman PC, Das R (2015) Multiple sulfur isotope analyses support a magmatic model for the volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits of the Teutonic bore volcanic complex, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Econ Geol 110:1411–1423

  15. Claoué-Long JC, Compston W, Cowden A (1988) The age of the Kambalda greenstones resolved by ion-microprobe: implications for Archaean dating methods. Earth Planet Sci Lett 89:239–259

  16. Clark ME (1980) Localization of gold, Mt Charlotte, Kalgoorlie,Western Australia. Hns. Thesis, the University of Western Australia

  17. Clout JMF (1989) Structural and isotopic studies of the Golden Mile gold–telluride deposit, Kalgoorlie, WA. PhD Thesis, Monash University

  18. Clout JMF, Cleghorn JH, Eaton PC (1990) Geology of the Kalgoorlie goldfield. In: Hughes FE (ed) Geology of the mineral deposits of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Australasian Inst Min Metall, Monograph 14, Melbourne, pp 411–431

  19. Cox S, Wall V, Etheridge M, Potter T (1991) Deformational and metamorphic processes in the formation of mesothermal vein-hosted gold deposits—examples from the Lachlan Fold Belt in central Victoria, Australia. Ore Geol Rev 6:391–423

  20. Cox S, Sun S, Etheridge M, Wall V, Potter T (1995) Structural and geochemical controls on the development of turbidite-hosted gold quartz vein deposits, Wattle Gully mine, central Victoria, Australia. Econ Geol 90:1722–1746

  21. Czarnota K, Champion DC, Goscombe B, Blewett RS, Cassidy KF, Henson PA, Groenewald PB (2010) Geodynamics of the eastern Yilgarn Craton. Precambrian Res 183:175–202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2010.08.004

  22. Doublier MP, Thébaud N, Wingate MTD, Romano SS, Kirkland CL, Gessner K, Mole DR, Evans N (2014) Structure and timing of Neoarchean gold mineralization in the southern cross district (Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia) suggest leading role of late low-Ca I-type granite intrusions. J Struct Geol 67:205–221. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsg.2014.02.009

  23. Drummond SE, Ohmoto H (1985) Chemical evolution and mineral deposition in boiling hydrothermal systems. Econ Geol 80:126–140

  24. Dugdale A, Hagemann S (2001) The Bronzewing lode-gold deposit, Western Australia: P–T–X evidence for fluid immiscibility caused by cyclic decompression in gold-bearing quartz-veins. Chem Geol 173:59–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0009-2541(00)00268-0

  25. Dunga J (2015) Hydrothermal alteration mineralogy, texture and zoning at the union Club open pit in the Mt. Percy gold deposit, Golden Mile, Western Australia. MSc thesis, University of Western Australia

  26. Fabre S, Nédélec A, Poitrasson F, Strauss H, Thomazo C, Nogueira A (2011) Iron and sulphur isotopes from the Carajás mining province (Pará, Brazil): implications for the oxidation of the ocean and the atmosphere across the Archaean–Proterozoic transition. Chem Geol 2011:124–139. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2011.07.019

  27. Farquhar J, Wing BA (2003) Multiple sulfur isotopes and the evolution of the atmosphere. Earth Planet Sci Lett 213:1–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0012-821X(03)00296-6

  28. Farquhar J, Bao H, Thiemens M (2000) Atmospheric influence of Earth’s earliest sulfur cycle. Science 289:756–758. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.289.5480.756

  29. Farquhar J, Cliff J, Zerkle AL, Kamyshny A, Poulton SW, Claire M, Harms B (2010) Connections between sulfur cycle evolution, sulfur isotopes, sediments, and base metal sulfide deposits. Econ Geol 105:509–533. https://doi.org/10.2113/gsecongeo.105.3.509

  30. Farquhar J, Cliff J, Zerkle AL, Kamyshny A, Poulton SW, Claire M, Harms B (2013) Pathways for Neoarchean pyrite formation constrained by mass-independent sulfur isotopes. Proc Natl Acad Sci 44:17638–17643. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1218851110

  31. Finucane K (1941) East-dipping strike faults on the Boulder belt, Kalgoorlie. Proc Australas Inst Min Metall 124:203–215

  32. Finucane KJ (1948) Ore Distribution and lode structures in the Kalgoorlie Goldfield. Proc Australas Inst Min Metall 148:111–129

  33. Fiorentini ML, Bekker A, Rouxel O, Boswell AW, Maier W, Douglas R (2012a) Multiple sulfur and Iron isotope composition of magmatic Ni-Cu-(PGE) sulfide mineralization from eastern Botswana. Econ Geol 107:105–116. https://doi.org/10.2113/econgeo.107.5.781

  34. Fiorentini ML, Bekker A, Rouxel O, Wing BA, Maier W, Rumble D (2012b) District to camp controls on the genesis of komatiite-hosted nickel sulfide deposits, Agnew-Wiluna Greenstone Belt, Western Australia: insights from the multiple sulfur isotopes. Econ Geol 107:781–776. https://doi.org/10.2113/econgeo.107.1.105

  35. Fletcher IR, Dunphy JM, Cassidy KF, Champion DC (2001) Compilation of SHRIMP U–Pb geochronological data, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Geoscience Australia Record 2001/47

  36. Gauthier L, Hagemann S, Robert F (2007) The geological setting of the Golden Mile gold deposit, Kalgoorlie, WA. In: Proceedings of Geoconferences (WA) Inc Kalgoorlie'07 Conference, vol Geoscience Australia Record, pp 181–185

  37. Goldfarb RJ, Baker T, Dube B, Groves DI, Hart CJR, Gosselin P (2005) Distribution, character, and genesis of gold deposits in metamorphic terranes. In: Hedenquist JW, Thompson JFH, Goldfarb RJ, Richards JP (eds) Economic Geology. 100th Anniversary Volume 1905-2005. Society of Economic Geologists, Littleton, Colorado, USA, pp 407–450

  38. Golding LY (1978) Mineralogy, geochemistry and origin of the Kalgoorlie gold deposits, Western Australia. PhD Thesis, University of Melbourne

  39. Golding SD (1982) An isotopic and geochemical study of gold mineralization in the Kalgoorlie-Norseman region, Western Australia. PhD Thesis, University of Queensland

  40. Golding SD, Wilson AF (1983) Geochemical and stable isotope studies of the no. 4 lode, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Econ Geol 78:438–450

  41. Golding SD et al. (1990a) Geochemistry of Archean epigenetic gold deposits in the Eastern Goldfields Province, Western Australia. In: Ho SE, Herbert HK (eds) Stable isotopes and fluid processes in mineralization. Geology Department (Key Centre) and University Extension, The University of Western Australia, Publication no. 23, 141–176

  42. Golding SD, Groves DI, McNaughton NJ, Mikucki EJ, Sang JH (1990b) Sulphur isotope studies. In: Ho, SE Groves, DI and Bennett, JM (eds) Gold Deposits of the Archean Yilgarn Block, Western Australia: Nature, Genesis and exploration guides. Geology Department (Key Centre) Perth, The University of Western Australia, Publication no. 20, 259–262

  43. Goleby BR, Korsch RJ, Fomin T, Bell B, Nicoll G, Drummond BJ, Owen AJ (2002) Preliminary 3-D geological model of the Kalgoorlie region, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, based on deep seismic-reflection and potential-field data. Aust J Earth Sci 49:917–933. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-0952.2002.00967.x

  44. Goleby B et al (2006) An integrated multi-scale 3D seismic model of the Archaean Yilgarn Craton, Australia. Tectonophysics 420:75–90. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2006.01.028

  45. Gregory DD, Large RR, Bath AB, Steadman JA, Wu S, Danyushevsky L, Bull SW, Holden P, Ireland TR (2016) Trace element content of pyrite from the Kapai slate, St. Ives Gold District, Western Australia. Econ Geol 111:1297–1320. https://doi.org/10.2113/econgeo.111.6.1297

  46. Groves D, Golding S, Rock N, Barley M, McNaughton N (1988) Archaean carbon reservoirs and their relevance to the fluid source for gold deposits. Nature 331:254–257

  47. Gustafson J, Miller F (1937) Kalgoorlie geology re-interpreted. Econ Geol 32:285–317

  48. Habicht KS, Gade M, Thamdrup B, Berg P, Canfield DE (2002) Calibration of sulfate levels in the Archean Ocean. Science 298:2372–2374. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1078265

  49. Harbi H (1997) Origin of the stockwork mineralisation at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. PhD Thesis, the University of Western Australia

  50. Haycraft J (1965) Ore Bodies in the Mt. Charlotte-Hannan's North Area, Kalgoorlie. Proc Australas Inst Min Metall 213:49–64

  51. Ho SE (1987) Fluid Inclusions: Their potential as an exploration tool for Archean gold deposits. Geology Department (Key Centre) and university extension, University of Western Australia Pub. 11, pp 239–263

  52. Ho SE, Groves DI, Phillips NG (1990) Fluid inclusions in quartz veins associated with archean gold mineralization clues to ore fluids and ore depositional conditions and significance to exploration. In: Ho SE, Herbert HK (eds) Stable isotopes and fluid processes in mineralization. Geology Department (Key Centre) and University Extension, The University of Western Australia, Publication no. 23; 35–50

  53. Hodkiewicz PF, Groves DI, Davidson GJ, Weinberg RF, Hagemann SG (2009) Influence of structural setting on sulphur isotopes in Archean orogenic gold deposits, eastern Goldfields Province, Yilgarn, Western Australia. Mineral Deposita 44:129–150. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-008-0211-5

  54. Hulston JR, Thode HG (1965) Variations in the S33, S34 and S36 contents of meteorites and their realtion to chemical and nuclear effects. J Geophys Res 70:3475–3484

  55. Ireland TR, Clement S, Compston W, Foster JJ, Holden P, Jenkins B, Williams IS (2008) Development of SHRIMP Australian. J Earth Sci 55:937–954. https://doi.org/10.1080/08120090802097427

  56. Ishihara S (1977) The magnetite-series and ilmenite-series granitic rocks. Min Geol 27:293–305

  57. Ishihara S (1981) The granitoid series and mineralization. In: Skinner B (ed) Economic geology 75th anniversary. Society of Economic Geology, Littleton Colorado, pp 407–450

  58. Jamieson JW, Wing BA, Hannington MD, Farquhar J (2006) Evaluating isotopic equilibrium among sulfide mineral pairs in Archean ore deposits; case study from the Kidd Creek VMS deposit, Ontario, Canada. Econ Geol 101:1055–1061. https://doi.org/10.2113/gsecongeo.101.5.1055

  59. Jamieson J, Wing B, Farquhar J, Hannington M (2013) Neoarchaean seawater sulphate concentrations from sulphur isotopes in massive sulphide ore. Nat Geosci 6:61–64. https://doi.org/10.1038/NGEO1647

  60. Johnston DT (2011) Multiple sulfur isotopes and the evolution of Earth's surface sulfur cycle. Earth Sci Rev 106:161–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earscirev.2011.02.003

  61. Johnston S, Sauter P, Hyland S (1990) Mount Percy gold deposits: Parkville Australia. Australas Inst Min Metall Monogr 14:433–437

  62. Keats W (1987) Regional geology of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder gold mining district. Geological survey of Western Australia, report 21. GSWA, Perth

  63. Kokh MA, Akinfiev NN, Pokrovski GS, Salvi S, Guillaume D (2017) The role of carbon dioxide in the transport and fractionation of metals by geological fluids. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 197:433–466. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2016.11.007

  64. Kositcin N, Brown SJA, Barley ME, Krapez B, Cassidy KF, Champion DC (2008) SHRIMP U-Pb zircon age constraints on the Late Archaean tectonostratigraphic architecture of the eastern goldfields Superterrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Precambrian Res 161:5–33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2007.06.018

  65. Krapez B, Hand JL (2008) Late Archaean deep-marine volcaniclastic sedimentation in an arc-related basin: the Kalgoorlie sequence of the eastern goldfields Superterrane, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Precambrian Res 161:89–113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.precamres.2007.06.014

  66. Krapez B, Brown SJA, Hand J, Barley ME, Cas RAF (2000) SHRIMP U-Pb zircon age constraints on the Late Archaean tectonostratigraphic architecture of the eastern goldfields Superterrane, Yilgarn craton, Western Australia. Tectonophysics 322:89–133. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0040-1951(00)00059-7

  67. Labidi J, Cartigny P, Moreira M (2013) Non-chondritic sulphur isotope composition of the terrestrial mantle. Nature 50:208–2101. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12490

  68. LaFlamme C, Martin L, Jeon H, Reddy SM, Selvaraja V, Caruso S, Bui TH, Roberts MP, Voute F, Hagemann S, Wacey D, Littman S, Wing B, Fiorentini M, Kilburn MR (2016) Advances in standard development for the collection of multiple sulfur isotopes in sulfides by secondary ion mass spectrometry. Chem Geol 444:1–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.09.032

  69. LaFlamme C, Sugiono D, Thébaud N, Caruso S, Fiorentini M, Selvaraja V, Jeon H, Voute F, Martin L (2018) Multiple sulfur isotopes monitor fluid evolution in an orogenic gold deposit. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 222:436–446. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2017.11.003

  70. Lambert I (1984) Sulfur isotope composition and genesis of Archean gold mineralization, Australia and Zimbabwe Gold'82: The geology, geochemistry and genesis of gold deposits, p 373–387

  71. Large RR, Maslennikov VV, Robert F, Danyushevsky LV, Chang Z (2007) Multistage sedimentary and metamorphic origin of pyrite and gold in the giant Sukhoi log deposit, Lena gold province, Russia. Econ Geol 102:1233–1267. https://doi.org/10.2113/gsecongeo.102.7.1233

  72. Lesher C, Arndt N (1995) REE and Nd isotope geochemistry, petrogenesis and volcanic evolution of contaminated komatiites at Kambalda, Western Australia. Lithos 34:127–157

  73. Lungan A (1986) The structural controls of the Oroya shoot: implications for the structure of the Kalgoorlie region, Western Australia. Hns. Thesis, the University of Western Australia

  74. Matsuhisa Y, Goldsmith JR, Clayton RN (1978) Mechanisms of hydrothermal crystallization of quartz at 205C and 15 kbar. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 42:173–182

  75. McKibben MA, Eldridge CS (1990) Radical sulfur isotope zonation of pyrite accompanying boiling and epithermal gold deposition; a SHRIMP study of the Valles Caldera, New Mexico. Econ Geol 85:1917–1925

  76. McNaughton NJ, Mueller AG, Groves DI (2005) The age of the Giant Golden Mile deposit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia: ion-microprobe zircon and monazite U-Pb geochronology of a Synmineralization lamprophyre dike. Econ Geol 100:1427–1440. https://doi.org/10.2113/gsecongeo.100.7.1427

  77. Mernagh TP, Heinrich CA, Mikucki EJ (2004) Temperature gradients recorded by fluid inclusions and hydrothermal alteration at the Mount Charlotte gold deposit, Kalgoorlie, Australia. Can Mineral 42:1383–1403. https://doi.org/10.2113/gscanmin.42.5.1383

  78. Mikucki E, Heinrich C (1993) Vein-and mine-scale wall-rock alteration and gold mineralisation in the Archaean Mount Charlotte deposit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia Australian Geological Survey Organisation, Record 54:135–140

  79. Mikucki EJ, Ridley JR (1993) The hydrothermal fluid of Archean lode-gold deposits at different metamorphic grades: compositional constraints from ore and wall rock alteration assemblages. Mineral Deposita 28:469–481

  80. Mole D et al (2013) Crustal evolution, intra-cratonic architecture and the metallogeny of an Archaean craton. In: Jenkin GR, Lus Lusty PAJ, McDonald I, Smith MP, Boyce AJ, Wilkinson JJ (eds) Ore Deposits in an Evolving Earth. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 393, first published online December 3, 2013. https://doi.org/10.1144/SP393.8

  81. Mueller AG (1990) The nature and genesis of high- and medium-temperature Archaean gold deposits in the Yilgarn Block, Western Australia, including a specifics study of scheelite-bearing skarn deposits. PhD thesis, the University of Western Australia

  82. Mueller AG (2007) Copper-gold endoskarns and high-Mg monzodiorite–tonalite intrusions at Mt Shea, Kalgoorlie, Australia: implications for the origin of gold–pyrite–tennantite mineralization in the Golden Mile. Mineral Deposita 42:737–769. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-007-0132-8

  83. Mueller AG (2015) Structure, alteration, and geochemistry of the Charlotte quartz vein stockwork, Mt Charlotte gold mine, Kalgoorlie, Australia: time constraints, down-plunge zonation, and fluid source. Mineral Deposita 50:221–244. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-014-0527-2

  84. Mueller AG (2017) Structural setting of Fimiston- and Oroya-style pyrite-telluride gold lodes, Paringa south mine, Golden Mile, Kalgoorlie: 1. Shear-zone systems, porphyry dykes and deposit-scale alteration zones. Mineral Deposita. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-016-0665-9

  85. Mueller AG, Muhling JR (2013) Silver-rich telluride mineralization at Mount Charlotte and Au–Ag zonation in the giant Golden Mile deposit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Mineral Deposita 48:295–311. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-012-0425-4

  86. Mueller AG, Harris LB, Lungan A (1988) Structural control of greenstone-hosted gold mineralization by transcurrent shearing: a new interpretation of the Kalgoorlie mining district, Western Australia. Ore Geol Rev 3:359–387

  87. Mueller AG, Hagemann SG, McNaughton NJ (2016) Neoarchean orogenic, magmatic and hydrothermal events in the Kalgoorlie-Kambalda area, Western Australia: constraints on gold mineralization in the Boulder Lefroy-Golden Mile fault system. Mineral Deposita. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-017-0747-3

  88. Neall FB (1985) The application of thermodynamics to the study of two Archean hydrothermal gold deposits in Western Australia. PhD Thesis, the University of Western Australia

  89. Nelson DR (1997) Evolution of the Archaean granite–greenstone terranes of the eastern goldfields, Western Australia: SHRIMP U–Pb zircon constraints. Precambrian Res 83:57–81

  90. Neumayr P, Walshe J, Hagemann S, Petersen K, Roache A, Frikken P, Horn L, Halley S (2008) Oxidized and reduced mineral assemblages in greenstone belt rocks of the St. Ives gold camp, Western Australia: vectors to high-grade ore bodies in Archaean gold deposits? Mineral Deposita 43:363–371. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-007-0170-2

  91. Ohmoto H (1972) Systematics of sulfur and carbon isotopes in hydrothermal ore deposits. Econ Geol 67:551–578

  92. Ohmoto H, Lasaga AC (1982) Kinetics of reactions between aqueous sulfates and sulfides in hydrothermal systems. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 46:1727–1745

  93. Ohmoto H, Rye RO (1979) Isotopes of sulfur and carbon. In: Barnes HL (ed) Gechemistry of hydrothermal ore deposits, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York

  94. Ono S, Eigenbrode JL, Pavlov AA, Karecha P, Rumble D, Kasting JF, Freeman KH (2003) New insights into Archean sulfur cycle from mass-independant sulfur isotope records from the Hamersley basin, Australia. Earth Planet Sci Lett 213:15–30. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0012-821X(03)00295-4

  95. Ono S, Wing BA, Rumble D, Farquhar J (2006) High precision analysis of all four stable isotopes of sulfur (32S, 33S, 34S and 36S) at nanomole levels using a laser fluorination isotope-ratio-monitoring gas chromatography-mas spectrometry. Chem Geol 225:30–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2005.08.005

  96. Owen AJ, Bateman R, Barton TJ, Drummond BJ, Goleby BR, Sauter PCC (1997) Kalgoorlie seismic profiling: operations, processing and interpretation report. Australian geological survey organization, Canberra, Record 2001/06, 1–44

  97. Palin J, Xu Y (2000) Gilt by association? Origins of pyritic gold ores in the victory mesothermal gold deposit, Western Australia. Econ Geol 95:1627–1634. https://doi.org/10.2113/gsecongeo.95.8.1627

  98. Pavlov A, Kasting J (2002) Mass-independent fractionation of sulfur isotopes in Archean sediments: strong evidence for an anoxic Archean atmosphere. Astrobiology 2:27–41. https://doi.org/10.1089/153110702753621321

  99. Phillips GN, Gibb H (1993) A century of gold mining at Kalgoorlie. vol 45. Economic Geology Research Unit, Key Centre in Economic Geology, James Cook University of North Queensland

  100. Phillips GN, Powell R (2010) Formation of gold deposits: a metamorphic devolatilization model. J Metamorph Geol 28:689–718. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1525-1314.2010.00887.x

  101. Phillips G, Groves D, Clark M, de Villiers J, Cawthorn P (1983) The importance of host-rock mineralogy in the location of Archaean epigenetic gold deposits Geological Society of South Africa Special Publication 7:79–86

  102. Phillips GN, Groves DI, Neall FB, Donnelly TH, Lambert I (1986) Anomalous sulfur isotope compositions in the Golden Mile, Kalgoorlie. Econ Geol 81:2008–2015

  103. Phillips GN, Groves DI, Brown IG (1987) Source requirements for the Golden Mile, Kalgoorlie: significance to the metamorphic replacement model for Archean gold deposits. Can J Earth Sci 24:1643–1651

  104. Phillips GN, Groves DI, Robert K (1996) Factors in the formation of the giant Kalgoorlie gold deposit. Ore Geol Rev 10:295–317

  105. Pokrovski GS, Dubessy J (2015) Stability and abundance of the trisulfur radical ion in hydrothermal fluids. Earth Planet Sci Lett 411:298–309. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2014.11.035

  106. Radtke AS (1963) Data on cuprian coloraDOIte from Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Econ Geol 58:593–598

  107. Rasmussen B, Mueller AG, Fletcher IR (2009) Zirconolite and xenotime U–Pb age constraints on the emplacement of the Golden Mile dolerite sill and gold mineralization at the Mt Charlotte mine, eastern Goldfields Province, Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia. Mineral Deposita 157:559–572. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00410-008-0352-7

  108. Robert F, Kelly WC (1987) Ore-forming fluids in Archean gold-bearing quartz veins at the Sigma Mine, Abitibi greenstone belt, Quebec, Canada. Econ Geol 82:1464–1482

  109. Roerdink DL, Mason PRD, Whitehouse MJ, Reimer T (2013) High-resolution quadrupole isotope analyses of 3.2 Ga pyrite from the Barberton Greenstone Belt in South Africa reveal distinct environmental controls on sulfide isotopic arrays. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 117:203–215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2013.04.027

  110. Rye RO (1993) The evolution of magmatic fluids in the epithermal environment; the stable isotope perspective. Econ Geol 88:733–752

  111. Sakai A, Ishihara S (1979) Sulfur isotopic composition of the magnetite-series and ilmenite-series granitoids in Japan. Contrib Mineral Petrol 68:107–115

  112. Scantlebury GM (1983) The characteristics and origin of the gold lodes in and around the Brownhill Syncline, Golden Mile, Western Australia. Hns. Thesis, the University of Western Australia

  113. Schuhmacher M, Fernandes F, De Chambost E (2004) Achieving high reproducibility isotope ratios with the Cameca IMS 1270 in the multicollection mode. Appl Surf Sci 231:878–882. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsusc.2004.03.157

  114. Selvaraja V, Caruso S, Fiorentini ML, LaFlamme CK, Bui TH (2017a) Atmospheric sulfur in the orogenic gold deposits of the Archean Yilgarn Craton. Geology 45:691–694. https://doi.org/10.1130/G38853.1

  115. Selvaraja V, Fiorentini ML, LaFlamme C, Wing B, Bui T-H (2017b) Anomalous sulfur isotopes trace volatile pathways in magmatic arcs. Geology 45:419–421. https://doi.org/10.1130/G38853.1

  116. Selvaraja V, Fiorentini ML, Jeon H, Savard DD, LaFlamme C, Guagliardo P, Caruso S, Bui TH (2017c) Evidence of local sourcing of sulfur and gold in an Archaean sediment hosted gold deposit. Ore Geol Rev 89:909–930. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oregeorev.2017.07.021

  117. Shackleton JM, Spry PG, Bateman R (2003) Telluride mineralogy of the golden mile deposit, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Can Mineral 41:1503–1524. https://doi.org/10.2113/gscanmin.41.6.1503

  118. Sharman ER, Taylor BE, Minarik WG, Dubé B, Wing BA (2015) Sulfur isotope and trace element data from ore sulfides in the Noranda district (Abitibi, Canada): implications for volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit genesis. Mineral Deposita 50:591–606. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-014-0559-7

  119. Shenberger D, Barnes H (1989) Solubility of gold in aqueous sulfide solutions from 150 to 350 C. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 53:269–278

  120. Sibson RH, Robert F, Poulsen KH (1988) High-angle reverse faults, fluid-pressure cycling, and mesothermal gold-quartz deposits. Geology 16:551–555

  121. Simpson E (1912) Detailed mineralogy of Kalgoorlie and Boulder with special reference to the ore deposits. Bull Geol Surv W Aust 42:77–151

  122. Steadman JA, Large RR, Meffre S, Olin PH, Danyushevsky LV, Gregory DD, Holden P (2015) Synsedimentary to early diagenetic gold in black shale-hosted pyrite nodules at the Golden Mile deposit, Kal-goorlie, Western Australia. Econ Geol 110:1157–1191. https://doi.org/10.2113/econgeo.110.5.1157

  123. Stillwell F (1931) The occurrence of telluride minerals at Kalgoorlie. Proc Australas Inst Min Metall 84:115–190

  124. Sully D (2010) The Mt. Percy gold deposits and the role and significance of porphyry intrusions in the gold mineralisation process. Hns. Thesis, the University of Western Australia

  125. Sund JO, Schwabe MR, Hamlyn DA, Bonsall EM (1984) Gold mineralization at the north end of the Kalgoorlie field, Mt Percy. In Gold Mining, Metallurgy and Geology, Regional Conference, October 1984, AusIMM, Melbourne

  126. Swager C (1989) Structure of Kalgoorlie greenstones-regional deformation history and implications for the structural setting of the Golden Mile gold deposits. Geological Survey of Western Australia, Report 25, pp. 59–84

  127. Swager CP (1997) Tectono-stratigraphy of late Archaean greenstone terranes in the southern eastern goldfields, Western Australia. Precambrian Res 83:11–42

  128. Thode HG, Macnamara J, Collins CB (1949) Natural variations in the isotopic content of sulphur and their significance. Can J Res 27:361–373

  129. Tomich SA (1959) The Oroya shoot and its relationship to other flatly plunging ore pipes at Kalgoorlie. Proc Australas Inst Min Metall 190:113–124

  130. Tomkins AG (2010) Windows of metamorphic sulfur liberation in the crust: implication for gold deposit genesis. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 74:3246–3259. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2010.03.003

  131. Tomkins AG (2013) On the source of orogenic gold. Geology 41:1255–1256. https://doi.org/10.1130/focus122013.1

  132. Travis G, Woodall R, Bartram G (1971) The geology of the Kalgoorlie goldfield geological Society of Australia, special publication, Pub 3, pp 175–190

  133. Vielreicher NM, Groves DI, Snee LW, Fletcher IR, McNaughton NJ (2010) Broad synchroneity of three gold mineralization styles in the Kalgoorlie gold field: SHRIMP, U-Pb, and 40Ar/39Ar geochronological evidence. Econ Geol 105:187–227. https://doi.org/10.2113/gsecongeo.105.1.187

  134. Weatherley DK, Henley RW (2013) Flash vaporization during earthquakes evidenced by gold deposits. Nat Geosci 6:294–298. https://doi.org/10.1038/NGEO1759

  135. White RW, Powell R, Phillips GN (2003) A mineral equilibria study of the hydrothermal alteration in mafic greenschist facies rocks at Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. J Metamorph Geol 21:455–468. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1525-1314.2003.00454.x

  136. Whitehouse MJ (2013) Multiple sulfur isotope determination by SIMS: evaluation of reference sulfides for Δ33S with observations and a case study on the determination of Δ36S. Geostand Geoanal Res 37:19–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-908X.2012.00188.x

  137. Woodall R (1965) Structure of the Kalgoorlie goldfield. In: Andrew J (ed) Geology of Australian ore deposit. 8th Commonwealth Mining and Metallurgical Congress Melbourne, pp.71–79

  138. Xue Y, Campbell I, Ireland TR, Holden P, Armstrong R (2013) No mass-independent sulfur isotope fractionation in auriferous fluids supports a magmatic origin for Archean gold deposits. Geology 41:791–794. https://doi.org/10.1130/G34186.1

Download references


Comments, feedback, discussion and samples from Andreas G. Mueller are highly appreciated for the development of this publication and during the data collection process. Technical assistance from Heejin Jeon at the Centre for Microscopy Characterization and Analysis (The University of Western Australia) is greatly acknowledged. Technical discussions with Paul Duuring were most useful during the data acquisition and petrographic documentation. Comments and reviews from Mineralium Deposita reviewers Suzanne Golding, Andrea Agangi, and Robert Linnen were very helpful for the improvement of this manuscript. Lastly, we would like to thank Mrs. Escobar-Lopez who generously contributed with graphic designs of the figures included in this manuscript.


Funds from CONACYT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Mexican Government) made this research project possible. This work was also financially supported by the Minerals Research Institute of Western Australia (MERIWA), the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF), and the Australian Research Council (ARC) via grants to the Centre of Excellence of Core to Crust Fluid Systems (CCFS).

Author information

Correspondence to Marcelo Godefroy-Rodríguez.

Additional information

Editorial handling: A. G. Mueller

Electronic supplementary material


(PDF 13514 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Godefroy-Rodríguez, M., Hagemann, S., LaFlamme, C. et al. The multiple sulfur isotope architecture of the Golden Mile and Mount Charlotte deposits, Western Australia. Miner Deposita (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-018-0828-y

Download citation


  • Gold
  • Archean
  • Orogenic
  • Sulfur isotopes
  • Mass independent fractionation