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Tracking fluid sources for skarn formation using scapolite geochemistry: an example from the Jinshandian iron skarn deposit, Eastern China

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Scapolite occurs as the major halogen-bearing phase at all paragenetic stages of skarn formation and mineralization in the Jinshandian iron skarn deposit, Eastern China. Here we integrate geochemical characteristics of scapolite with in situ B and Sr isotopes of associated tourmaline and fluorapatite, respectively, to trace the sources and evolution of the fluids responsible for mineralization in this deposit. Pre-ore stage I scapolite has molar Cl/Br ratios ranging from ~ 920 to 2200, which, together with the boron isotope composition of pre-ore stage I tourmaline, are consistent with formation from magmatic fluids from the Jinshandian intrusion. In contrast, scapolite in syn- and post-ore stages (II and III) has significantly higher Cl/Br ratios (2900–6200) that are outside the range of magmatic fluids but are consistent with involvement of fluids derived from the halite-bearing evaporite horizons that lie within regionally extensive sedimentary country rocks. The influx of sedimentary-derived fluids is also consistent with 87Sr/86Sr of syn-ore stages II fluorapatite (0.7098–0.7109), which are significantly higher than those of the skarn-related quartz diorite intrusions (0.7058–0.7061) but approach the isotopic compositions of the Middle Triassic evaporites and other continental sedimentary country rocks. These data indicate that evaporite-sourced fluids were involved in iron ore formation at the Jinshandian deposit and may be important for the formations of other iron ore deposits. Our findings also show that scapolite halogen geochemistry in combination with other fluid tracers, such as B and Sr isotopes, can be extremely useful for identifying the origins and evolution of fluids in magmatic-hydrothermal systems.

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This study was financially supported by NSFC Project (41822203), the 973 program (2012CB416802), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan) (CUG140618 and CUGCJ1711). We thank Mr. Min Ji for his assistance in the field; Mr. Jianpei Lu for the sample preparation; Prof. Meijun Yang and Ms. Xiaolei Nie for the BSE imaging and EPMA analyses; Dr. Yang Huang for the SEM-CL imaging; Dr. Yi Hu for the trace elements analyses; A/Prof. Wei Chen, Prof. Kuidong Zhao, Mr. Zhikun Su, Mr. Qian Li, and Mr. Yuancan Ying for Sr and B isotopes analyses in China University of Geosciences (Wuhan); and Dr. Tao Yang for the Sr isotope analyses in Nanjing University. We also thank Dr. Zhaoshan Chang and Dr. Xiaochun Li for their constructive comments on an early version of the manuscript and Dr. Huiqing Huang for his assistance in the processing data. This is contribution 1373 from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Core to Crust Fluid Systems and contribution 26 from China University of Geosciences Center for Research in Economic Geology and Exploration Targeting (CREGET). Liping Zeng is financially supported by the China Scholarship Council. This manuscript benefited from constructive comments from Dr. Yuanming Pan and an anonymous referee, and editorial comments and suggestions by Dr. Bernd Lehmann.

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ESM Table 1

Descriptions of the selected samples used in this study (XLSX 10 kb)

ESM Table 2

Selected representative EMP scapolite analyses from the Jinshandian deposit (XLSX 31 kb)

ESM Table 3

Halogen and other elemental compositions of scapolite from all three paragenetic stages in the Jinshandian deposit (XLSX 59 kb)

ESM Table 4

In-situ B isotopic data for the internal reference tourmaline IMR RB1 (XLSX 10 kb)

ESM Table 5

In-situ Sr isotope and trace elemental compositions of fluorapatite from the Jinshandian deposit (XLSX 17 kb)

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Zeng, L., Zhao, X., Hammerli, J. et al. Tracking fluid sources for skarn formation using scapolite geochemistry: an example from the Jinshandian iron skarn deposit, Eastern China. Miner Deposita (2019).

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  • Iron skarn deposit
  • In situ halogen analysis
  • Scapolite
  • Evaporite
  • Cl/Br ratio
  • Mineralizing fluids
  • B and Sr isotopes