Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 324–336 | Cite as

Infrared spectral reflectance characterization of the hydrothermal alteration at the Tuwu Cu–Au deposit, Xinjiang, China

  • K. YangEmail author
  • C. Lian
  • J. F. Huntington
  • Q. Peng
  • Q. Wang


Short-wave infrared (SWIR) reflectance spectroscopy was used to characterize hydrothermal minerals and map alteration zones in the Tuwu Cu–Au deposit, Xinjiang, China. The Palaeozoic hydrothermal system at Tuwu is structurally controlled, developed in andesitic volcanic rocks and minor porphyries. Hydrothermal alteration is characterized by horizontally zoned development of quartz, sericite, chlorite, epidote, montmorillonite and kaolin about individual porphyry dykes and breccia zones, as is shown by changes outward from a core of quartz veining and silicification, through an inner zone of sericite + chlorite to a marginal zone of chlorite + epidote. The alteration system comprises several such zoning patterns. Silicification and sericitization are spatially associated with Cu–Au mineralization. Zoning is also shown by compositional variations such that Fe-rich chlorite and Al-rich sericite occur preferentially toward the core and the most intensely altered parts, whereas Mg-rich chlorite and relatively Al-poor sericite are present on the margin and the relatively weakly altered parts of the hydrothermal alteration system. The compositions of chlorite and sericite, therefore, can be potentially used as vectors to Cu–Au mineralization. Montmorillonite and kaolinite, of probable weathering origin, are located near the surface, forming an argillic blanket overlying Cu–Au mineralization. Sporadic montmorillonite is also present at depth in the hydrothermal alteration system, formed by descending groundwater. Presence of a well-developed kaolinite-bearing zone on the surface is an indication of possible underlying Cu–Au mineralization in this region. Epidote occurs widely in regional volcanic rocks, as well as in variably altered rocks on the margin of the hydrothermal mineralization system at Tuwu. The widespread occurrence of epidote in volcanic country rocks probably reflects a regional hydrothermal alteration event prior to the localized, porphyry intrusion-related hydrothermal process that led to the Cu–Au mineralization at Tuwu.


Tuwu Hydrothermal alteration Infrared spectroscopy 



We gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this work by China Geological Survey and AusIndustry, and the technical assistance for field-work by Daquan Zhang, Dawen Liu and Chunhua Yuan. Thanks are also due to Xinjiang Geological Survey for providing working and living facilities in the field camp at Tuwu.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Yang
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. Lian
    • 2
  • J. F. Huntington
    • 1
  • Q. Peng
    • 2
  • Q. Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIRO Division of Exploration and MiningNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.China Geological SurveyBeijingChina

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