Mineralogy and Petrology

, Volume 96, Issue 3–4, pp 141–161 | Cite as

The “Donauplatin”: source rock analysis and origin of a distal fluvial Au-PGE placer in Central Europe

  • Harald G. DillEmail author
  • Detlev Klosa
  • Gustav Steyer
Original Paper


The mineral assemblage and the sedimentological characteristics of the “Donauplatin” (Danubian fluvial placer containing platinum-group elements (PGE) and gold (Au)) are described for the first time in connection with upstream reference placer deposits near the potential source area in tributaries of the River Danube/Donau. Granulometric and morphometric data have been obtained using the CCD-based CAMSIZER technique. The platinum-group minerals (PGM; iridium, osmium, unknown iridium-osmium-sulfide, ruthenium-osmium-iridium alloys, platinum-iron alloys, iridium-bearing platinum, sperrylite) have been derived from ultramafic magmatic rocks, probably belonging to the ophiolitic series in the Tepla Barrandian unit of the Bohemian Massif. The Au-Pd-Cu compounds in the placer originated from dynamo-metamorphogenic processes in a sulfur-deficient environment at the SW edge of the Bavarian Basement. Gold in the “Donauplatin” has been reworked from a “secondary” or intermediate repository of lateritic gold (Boddington-type). Its primary source is supposed to be of orogenic origin. Provenance analyses of the associated non-heavy minerals point to high-pressure metamorphic rocks, igneous rocks (monazite) and high-temperature metamorphic rocks (750° to 850°C, zircon morphology). Garnet compositions indicate that meta(ultra)basic igneous rocks, calc-silicate rocks and skarns prevailed over paragneisses in the provenance area. Extraterrestrial processes creating the well-known Ries impact crater in the environs of Nördlingen during the Miocene have a minor share in the PGE budget by delivering molybdenum-ruthenium-osmium-iridium alloys and iridium solid-solution series (s.s.s.) minerals. Judging by the heavy mineral suites, Saxothuringian source rocks of the NE Bavarian Basement connected with the Donau River via the Naab River drainage system have not contributed to the element budget of the “Donauplatin” under study. Stream sediments which have been derived from this provenance area are characterized by low-temperature (LT) crystalline rocks and a considerable proportion of pegmatitic and metabauxitic material lacking in the Holocene sediments of the “Donauplatin”.


Source Rock Heavy Mineral Stream Sediment Bohemian Massif Placer Deposit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We are indebted to I. Bitz for her assistance during mineral separation and grain size analysis and D. Weck who performed the XRD analyses. All investigations were carried out in the laboratories of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Hannover, Germany. The final version of the paper was gone through by H. Millauer for linguistic editing. We express our thanks to N. Patyk-Kara and an anonymous referee who made some useful comments which were of assistance in the revision of the manuscript. We also extend our gratitude to J.G. Raith and G. Garuti for their editorial handling of our manuscript and for some additional remarks to improve a preliminary draft of our paper.

This paper is dedicated to Prof. Dr. Natalia Patyk-Kara who passed away on October 29, 2008


  1. Anand RR, Butt CRM (1998) Approaches to geochemical exploration in lateritic and related terrains: a comparison of Australian and African. Geol Miner Explor AIG Bull 25:17–34Google Scholar
  2. Augé T, Legendre O (1994) Platinum-group element oxides from the Pirogues ophiolitic mineralization, New Caledonia: Origin and significance. Econ Geol 89:1454–1468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Augé T, Maurizot P, Breton J, Eberlé JM, Gilles C, Jézéquel P, Mézière J, Robert M (1995) Magmatic and supergene platinum-group minerals in the New Caledonia ophiolite. Chron Rech Min 520:3–26Google Scholar
  4. Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt, Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz and Ministerium für Umwelt und Verkehr Baden-Württemberg (2006) Bericht zur Bestandsaufnahme für das deutsche Donaugebiet, München, Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Umwelt, Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz, p 126.Google Scholar
  5. Benisek A, Finger F (1993) Factors controlling the development of prism faces in granite zircons: A microprobe study. Contrib Mineral Petrol 114:441–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bingen B, Davis WJ, Austrheim H (2001) Zircon U-Pb geochronology in the Bergen arc eclogites and their Proterozoic protoliths, and implications for the pre-Scandian evolution of the Caledonides in western Norway. Geol Soc Am Bull 113:640–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bossart PJ, Meier M, Oberli F, Steiger RH (1986) Morphology versus U-Pb systematics in zircon: A high-resolution isotopic study of a zircon population from a Variscan dyke in the Central Alps. Earth Planet Sci Lett 78:339–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cabral AR, Lehmann B (2003) A two-stage process of native palladium formation at low temperatures: evidence from a palladian gold nugget (Gongo Soco iron ore mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil). Mineral Mag 67:453–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cabri L (2002) The platinum-group minerals. Can Inst Mining Metall Petrol 54:13–129Google Scholar
  10. Cabri LJ, Harris DC, Weiser TW (1996) Mineralogy and distribution of platinum-group mineral (PGM) placer deposits of the world. Expl Geol 2:73–167Google Scholar
  11. Dill HG (1985) Die Vererzung am Westrand der Böhmischen Masse - Metallogenese in einer ensialischen Orogenzone. Geol Jb D 73:3–46Google Scholar
  12. Dill HG (1990) Chemical basin analysis of the metalliferous "Variegated Metamorphics" of the Bodenmais ore district (F.R. of Germany). Ore Geol Rev 5:151–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dill HG (1991) Sedimentpetrographie und -geochemie des Urnaab-Flußsystems zwischen Burglengenfeld und Schwandorf/Oberpfalz. - Ein Beitrag zur Flußentwicklung und Abtragungsgeschichte in Ostbayern. N Jb Geol Palläont Mh 1991:526–542Google Scholar
  14. Dill HG (1998) A review of heavy minerals in clastic sediments with case studies from the alluvial-fan through the nearshore-marine environments. Earth-Sci Rev 45:103–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dill HG (2007) Grain morphology of heavy minerals from marine and continental placer deposits, with special reference to Fe -Ti oxides. Sed Geol 198:1–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dill HG (2008) Geogene and anthropogenic controls on the mineralogy and geochemistry of modern alluvial-(fluvial) gold placer deposits in man-made landscapes in France, Switzerland and Germany. J Geochem 99:29–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dill HG, Wehner H, Blum N (1993) The origin of sulfide accumulation ("sulfur keel") in arenaceous rocks beneath carbonaceous horizons in fluvial depositions of late Paleozoic through Cenozoic age (SE-Germany). Chem Geol 104:159–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dill HG, Melcher F, Fuessl M, Weber B (2006) Accessory minerals in cassiterite: A tool for provenance and environmental analyses of colluvial-fluvial placer deposits (NE Bavaria, Germany). Sed Geol 191:171–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dill HG, Klosa D, Steyer G, Fuessl M (2007a) Schwermineraluntersuchungen an Palladium-, Iridium- und Osmium-Minerale führenden Goldseifen aus Niederbayern, Deutschland. Z Dt Ges Geowiss 158:1005–1010Google Scholar
  20. Dill HG, Melcher F, Fuessl M, Weber B (2007b) The origin of rutile-ilmenite aggregates (“ nigrine ”) in alluvial-fluvial placers of the Hagendorf pegmatite province, NE Bavaria, Germany. Mineral Petrol 89:133–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dumula MR, Mortensen JK (2002) Composition of placer and lode gold as an exploration tool in the Stewart River map area, western Yukon. In: Emond DS, Weston LH and Lewis LL (Eds), Exploration and Geological Services Division, Yukon, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000. Yukon Exploration and Geology 2001:1–16Google Scholar
  22. Finger F, Krenn E (2007) Three metamorphic monazite generations in a high-pressure rock from the Bohemian Massif and the potentially important role of apatite in stimulating polyphase monazite growth along a PT loop. Lithos 95:103–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Friis H, Nielsen OB, Friis EM, Balme BE (1980) Sedimentological and palaeobotanical investigations of a Miocene sequence at Lavsbjery, Central Jütland, Denmark. Danm Geol Unders 1979:51–67Google Scholar
  24. Groves DI, Goldfarb RJ, Gebre-Mariam M, Hagemann SG, Robert F (1998) Orogenic gold deposits: A proposed classification in the context of their crustal distribution and relationship to other gold deposit types. Ore Geol Rev 13:7–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gübelin E, Erni F (2000) Gemstones, Symbols of beauty and power. Geoscience Press, Tucson, AZ, p 240Google Scholar
  26. Hagen D, Th W, Htay T (1990) Platinum-group minerals in Quaternary gold placers in the upper Chindwin area of northern Burma. Mineral Petrol 42:265–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harris DC, Cabri LJ (1991) Nomenclature of platinum-group-element alloys; review and revision. Can Mineral 29:231–237Google Scholar
  28. Hauner U (1983) Bayerischer Saphir. Lapis 14:19–20Google Scholar
  29. Hofmann F (1973) Horizonte fremdartiger Auswürflinge und Versuch Ihrer Deutung als Impaktphänomen. Eclog Geol Helv 66:83–100Google Scholar
  30. Hüttner R, Reiff W (1977) Keine Anhäufung von Astroblemen auf der Fränkischen Alb. N Jb Geol Paläont Mh 1977:415–422Google Scholar
  31. Illenberger W (1991) Pebble shape (and size !). Jour Sed Petrol 61:756–767Google Scholar
  32. Jaffé FC (1986) Switzerland. In: Dunning FW, Evans AM (eds) Mineral deposits of Europe, vol 3. IMM & Miner Soc London, Central Europe, pp 41–55Google Scholar
  33. Johan Z (1989) Merenskyite, Pd(Te, Se) 2 and the low-temperature selenide association from the Předbořice uranium deposit, Czechoslovakia. N Jb Mineral Mh 1989:179–191Google Scholar
  34. Johan Z, Ohnenstetter M, Fischer M, Amossé J (1990) Platinum-Group Minerals from the Durance River Alluvium, France. Mineral Petrol 42:287–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Knight JB, Mortensen JK, Morison SR (1999) Lode and placer gold composition in the Klondike district Yukon Territory, Canada, implications for the nature and genesis of Klondike placer and lode gold. Econ Geol 94:649–664CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Koch A, Lehrberger G, Lahusen L (1997) Primäre und sekundäre Goldvorkommen zwischen Tittling und Perlesreuth im Bayerischen Wald, Moldanubikum. Geol Bav 102:345–358Google Scholar
  37. Kodymová A, Kodym O (1984) Contents of selected minerals in rocks of the earlier formations of the Bohemian Massif, Èas. Mineral Geol 29:129–140Google Scholar
  38. Kusiaka MA, Kędziora A, Paszkowskia M, Suzukib K, González-Álvarezc I, Wajsprychd B, Doktor M (2006) Provenance implications of Th–U–Pb electron microprobe ages from detrital monazite in the Carboniferous Upper Silesia Coal Basin, Poland. Lithos 88:56–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ma C, Rossman GR (2007) IMA No. 2007-029 (Mo,Ru,Fe,Ir,Os)
  40. Malec L (1997) Mineralogy of heavy concentrate from Vestřev pyrope alluvial deposits. Unpublished report, 12 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Malec L, Veselovsky F (1985) Gold mining in the neighborhood of Svoboda nad Upou. Rozpe Nar Techn Muz 99:149–160 (in Czech)Google Scholar
  42. Malitch KN, Merkle RKW (2004) Ru-Os-Ir-Pt and Pt-Fe alloys from the Evander Goldfield, Witwatersrand Basin, South Africa: detrital origin inferred from compositional and osmium-isotope data. Can Mineral 42:631–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Malitch KN, Melcher F, Mühlhans H (2001) Palladium and gold mineralization in podiform chromitite at Kraubath, Austria. Mineral Petrol 73:247–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Malitch KN, Augé T, Yu BI, Goncharov MM, Junk SA, Pernicka E (2002) Os-rich nuggets from Au-PGE placers of the Maimecha-Kotui Province, Russia: a multi-disciplinary study. Mineral Petrol 76:121–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Malitch KN, Junk SA, Thalhammer OAR, Melcher F, Knauf VV, Pernicka E, Stumpfl EF (2003a) Laurite and ruarsite from podiform chromitites at Kraubath and Hochgrössen, Austria: new insights from osmium isotopes. Can Mineral 41:331–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Malitch KN, Thalhammer OAR, Knauf VV, Melcher F (2003b) Diversity of platinum-group mineral assemblages in banded and podiform chromitite from the Kraubath ultramafic massif, Austria: evidence for an ophiolitic transition zone. Mineral Deposita 38:282–297Google Scholar
  47. Morriss P (1993) Gold ore mining at Boddington gold mine, Boddington. In: Woodcock JT, Hamilton JK (eds) The Sir Maurice Mawby Memorial, vol Monograph 19. Austral IMM, Melbourne, pp 814–819Google Scholar
  48. Morton AC (1991) Geochemical studies of detrital heavy minerals and their application to provenance research. In: Morton AC, Todd SP and Haughton PDW (Eds). Developments in sedimentary provenance studies. Geol Soc Lond Spec Pub 57:31–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Morton AC, Hallsworth CR (1999) Processes controlling the composition of heavy mineral assemblages in sandstones. Sed Geol 124:3–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nilsson LP (1990) Platinum-group mineral inclusions in chromitite from the Osthammeren ultramafic tectonite body, South Central Norway. Mineral Petrol 42:249–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Olivo GR, Gauthier M, Bardoux M, de Sa EL, Fonseca JTF, Santana FC (1995) Palladium-bearing gold deposit hosted by Proterozoic Lake Superior-type iron-formation at the Caue iron mine, Itabira District, southern Sao Francisco Craton, Brazil; geologic and structural controls. Econ Geol 90:118–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pašava J, Vavřin I, Frýda J, Janoušek V, Jelinek E (2003) Geochemistry and mineralogy of platinum-group elements in the Ransko gabbro-peridotite massif, Bohemian Massif (Czech Republic). Mineral Deposita 38:298–311Google Scholar
  53. Propach G, Pfeiffer T (1998) Ocean floor basalt, not continental gabbro: a reinterpretation of the Hoher Bogen amphibolites, Teplá-Barrandian, Bohemian massif. Int J Earth Sci 87:303–313Google Scholar
  54. Pupin JP (1980) Zircon and granite petrology. Contrib Mineral Petrol 73:207–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ramdohr P (1975) Die Erzminerale und ihre Verwachsungen. Akademie-Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  56. Ramdohr P, Strunz H (1978) Klockmanns Lehrbuch der Mineralogie, 16th edn. Enke, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  57. Robin E, Boclet D, Bonté P, Froget U, Jéhanno C, Rocchia R (1991) The stratigraphic distribution of Ni-rich spinels in Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary rocks at El Kef (Tunisia), Caravaca (Spain) and Hole 761C (Leg 122). Earth Planet Sci Lett 107:715–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rudman PS (1967) Lattice parameters of some h.c.p binary alloys of rhenium and osmium: Re-W, Re-Ir, Re-Pt, Os-Ir, Os-Pt. J Less Com Metals 12:79–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Rutte E (1971) Neue Ries-äquivalente Krater mit Brekzien-Ejekta in der südlichen Frankenalb, Süddeutschland. Geofor 7:84–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Santosh M, Philip R, Jacob MK, Omana PK (1992) Highly pure placer gold formation in the Nilambur Valley, Wynad Gold Field, southern India. Mineral Deposita 27:336–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Schandl ES, Gorton MP (2004) A textural and geochemical guide to the identification of hydrothermal monazite: criteria for selection of samples for dating epigenetic hydrothermal ore deposits. Econ Geol 99:1027–1035CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schmidt G, Pernicka E (1994) The determination of platinum group elements (PGE) in target rocks and fall-back material of the Nördlinger Ries impact crater, Germany. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 58:5083–5090CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Schumann W (1997) Gemstones of the world. Sterling Publishing Co, New York, USAGoogle Scholar
  64. Semmel A (1996) Geomorphologie der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Steiner, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  65. Simonet C, Paquette JL, Pin C, Lasnier B, Fritsch E (2004) The Dusi (Garba Tula) sapphire deposit, Central Kenya––a unique Pan-African corundum-bearing monzonite. J Afr Earth Sci 38:401–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sperling T (1990) Neue Mineralien aus dem Pegmatit Stanzen bei Eck im Bayerischen Wald. Bayer Wald 23:5–9Google Scholar
  67. Stöffler D, Artemieva NA, Pierazzo E (2002) Modeling the Ries-Steinheim impact event and the formation of the moldavite strewn field. Meteoritics Planet Sci 2002:1893–1907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Strunz H (1961) Orthotorbernit von Altrandsberg/ Bayerischer Wald. Aufschluß 12:25–27Google Scholar
  69. Strunz H (1962) Radioaktivität des Zinkspinells von Bodenmais und deren Ursache. Aufschluß 13:47–52Google Scholar
  70. Strunz H, Forster A, Tennyson CH (1975) Die Pegmatite der nördlichen Oberpfalz. Aufschluß Spec Pub 26:117–189Google Scholar
  71. Stückl E (1991) Pliozäne Schotter der Naab und der Donau im Frauenforst nördlich Kehlheim. Geol Blätt NO-Bay 41:51–64Google Scholar
  72. Thalhammer OAR, Prochaska W, Mühlhans H (1990) Solid inclusions in chrome-spinels and platinum group element concentrations from the Hochgrössen and Kraubath ultramafic massifs, Austria; their relationship to metamorphism and serpentinization. Contrib Mineral Petrol 105:66–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Tolstykh ND, Sidorov EG, Laajoki KVO, Krivenko AP, Podlipskiy M (2000) The association of platinum-group minerals in placers of the Pustaya River, Kamchatka, Russia. Can Mineral 38:1251–1264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Townley BK, Herail G, Maksaev V, Palacios C, de Parseval P, Sepuldeva F, Orellana R, Rivas P, Ulloa C (2003) Gold grain morphology and composition as an exploration tool: application to gold exploration in covered areas, Geochemistry. Expl Environ Anal 3:29–38Google Scholar
  75. Tucker ME (2001) Sedimentary petrology. Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  76. Villinger E (1998) Zur Flussgeschichte von Rhein und Donau in Südwestdeutschland. Jb Mitt Oberrhein Geol Ver NF 80:361–398Google Scholar
  77. Walther HW, Dill HG (1995) Die Bodenschätze Mitteleuropas - Ein Überblick. In: Walther R (Ed), Die Geologie von Mitteleuropa, SchweizerbartGoogle Scholar
  78. Weibel MS, Graeser WF, Oberholzer H, Stalder A, Gabriel W (1998) Die Mineralien der Schweiz, 5th edn. Birkhauser Verlag, Basel Boston BerlinGoogle Scholar
  79. Weiser T (2002) Platinum group minerals (PGM) in placer deposits. Can Inst Min Metal Petrol Bull 54:721–756Google Scholar
  80. Weiser T, Bachmann HG (1999) Platinum minerals from the Aikora River area, Papua New Guinea. Can Mineral 37:1131–1145Google Scholar
  81. Wilde AR, Bloom MS, Wall VJ (1989) Transport and deposition of gold, uranium and platinum group elements in unconformity-related uranium deposits. Econ Geol Monogr 6:637–650Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural ResourcesHannoverGermany
  2. 2.WendelsteinGermany

Personalised recommendations