Pyrite textures and compositions from the Zhuangzi Au deposit, southeastern North China Craton: implication for ore-forming processes

  • Xing-Hui Li
  • Hong-Rui FanEmail author
  • Kui-Feng Yang
  • Pete Hollings
  • Xuan Liu
  • Fang-Fang Hu
  • Ya-Chun Cai
Original Paper


The Zhuangzi Au deposit in the world-class Jiaodong gold province hosts visible natural gold, and pyrite as the main ore mineral, making it an excellent subject for deciphering the complex hydrothermal processes and mechanisms of gold precipitation. Three types of zoned pyrite crystals were distinguished based on textural and geochemical results from EPMA, SIMS sulfur isotopic analyses and NanoSIMS mapping. Py0 has irregular shapes and abundant silicate inclusions and was contemporaneous with the earliest pyrite–sericite–quartz alteration. It has low concentrations of As (0–0.3 wt.%), Au and Cu. Py1 precipitated with stage I mineralization shows oscillatory zoning with the bright bands having high As (0.4–3.9 wt.%), Au and Cu contents, whereas the dark bands have low contents of As (0–0.4 wt.%), Au and Cu. The oscillatory zoning represents pressure fluctuations and repeated local fluid phase separation around the pyrite crystal. The concentration of invisible gold in Py1 is directly proportional to the arsenic concentration. Py1 is partially replaced by Py2 which occurs with arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite and native gold in stage II. The replacement was likely the result of pseudomorphic dissolution–reprecipitation triggered by a new pulse of Au-rich hydrothermal fluids. The δ34S values for the three types of pyrite are broadly similar ranging from + 7.1 to + 8.8‰, suggesting a common sulfur source. Fluid inclusion microthermometry suggests that extensive phase separation was responsible for the gold deposition during stage II mineralization. Uranium–Pb dating of monazite constrains the age of mineralization to ca. 119 Ma coincident with a short compressional event around 120 Ma linked to an abrupt change in the drift direction of the subducting Pacific plate.


Pyrite As–Au–Cu Sulfur isotope Fluid inclusion Monazite NanoSIMS mapping 



This study was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (No. 2016YFC0600105) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (41772080). Xin Yan, Di Zhang, Xiaoxiao Ling, Yueheng Yang and Jianchao Zhang are thanked for their technical support in running the FSEM, EPMA, SIMS, LA-ICPMS and NanoSIMS, respectively. We thank Jibin Shang for his help on sampling. We thank Editor in-chief Othmar Müntener, Steven Reddy, Denis Fougerouse, Thomas Pettke and an anonymous reviewer for useful comments, which greatly improved our manuscript.

Supplementary material

410_2018_1501_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (27 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 EPMA major elements (wt.%) and in situ sulfur isotope (‰) of pyrite and pyrrhotite, as well as EPMA results of gold grains from the Zhuangzi gold deposit. (XLSX 26 KB)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mineral Resources, Institute of Geology and GeophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.College of Earth and Planetary SciencesUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Institutions of Earth ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Geology DepartmentLakehead UniversityOntarioCanada

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