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International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 101, Issue 4, pp 889–917 | Cite as

Epithermal deposits in North Xinjiang, NW China

  • Y. J. ChenEmail author
  • F. Pirajno
  • G. Wu
  • J. P. Qi
  • X. L. Xiong
Review Article

Abstract

The North Xinjiang region (NW China) is an important part of the Central Asia Orogenic Belt, situated at the junction of Siberia, Tarim and Kazakhstan plates. It is an area characterized by multiple stages of Phanerozoic continental growth, during which several porphyry and epithermal systems were formed. The relationship of these mineral systems to the geodynamic evolution of the region has not yet been well understood. In this paper, we list the main geological characteristics of 21 significant epithermal precious and base metal deposits in North Xinjiang, and classify them into high-sulfidation and low-sulfidation styles, with the latter being predominant. We have selected seven epithermal deposits representing different styles formed under different tectonic regimes and discuss their geology and geochemistry in some detail. The deposit-scale geology and geochemistry of epithermal systems in North Xinjiang are essentially similar to those in other parts of the world. All epithermal deposits in North Xinjiang are hosted in volcanic rocks with ages ranging from Devonian to Triassic, with the Early Carboniferous volcanic sequences being the most important, followed by the Permian and Triassic. The Devonian–Early Carboniferous host rocks belong to the calc-alkaline series that developed in pre-collisional arc-back-arc basin systems; whereas the Permian–Triassic host volcanic rocks of shoshonite series formed in post-subduction regimes. Available isotopic ages of these epithermal systems cluster in two periods: Early Carboniferous (>320 Ma) and Late Carboniferous–Triassic (320–220 Ma), reflecting two metallogenic episodes that occurred during subduction-related accretion and post-subduction collision regimes, respectively. Accordingly, three groups of epithermal deposits in North Xinjiang can be recognized as (1) pre-collisional deposits without or with negligible collisional-related modification, (2) deposits formed in collision regime and (3) ore systems strongly overprinted by fluid flow in post-subduction collision regime.

Keywords

Epithermal deposits North Xinjiang Subduction-related arc-basin system Intercontinental collision regime Tectonic model for epithermal deposits 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was granted by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Project Nos. 2007CB411303 and 2006CB403508; and 2007BAB25B03 and 2006BAB01A02), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 40772055 and 40425006). Comments, suggestions and criticisms of two anonymous reviewers and Professors Wenjiao Xiao and Wolf-Christian Dullo greatly improved the quality of the paper. Franco Pirajno publishes with the permission of the Executive Director of the Geological Survey of Western Australia.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Y. J. Chen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • F. Pirajno
    • 3
    • 4
  • G. Wu
    • 2
  • J. P. Qi
    • 1
  • X. L. Xiong
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Orogen and Crust EvolutionPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Metallogenic DynamicsGuangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, CASGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Geological Survey of Western Australia, Perth, AustraliaEast PerthAustralia
  4. 4.School of Earth and EnvironmentUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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