Genesis of Palaeoproterozoic iron skarns in the Misi region, northern Finland

Abstract

Sodic alteration is widespread in Palaeoproterozoic greenstone and schist belts of the northern Fennoscandian shield. In the Misi region that forms the easternmost part of the Peräpohja schist belt, several small magnetite deposits show intimate spatial relationships with intensely albitised gabbros, raising the possibility that regional sodic alteration released iron, which was subsequently accumulated into deposits. Two of these magnetite deposits, Raajärvi and Puro display a typical paragenesis as follows (from oldest to youngest): (1) diopside, (2) actinolite/tremolite-magnetite ± chlorite, biotite, and (3) serpentine ± hematite, chlorite. Mass balance calculations suggest that significant amounts of Fe, Ca, Mg, K, Cu, V, and Ba were lost, and Na and Si gained during the albitisation of the gabbro, at near-constant Al, Ga, Ti, and Zr. Significant amounts of Si, Ca, Fe, and Na were enriched in the formation of skarn related to magnetite deposits. Fe and V leached from country rocks deposited during the skarn-alteration and formed the vanadium rich iron deposits while Cu passed through the system without significant precipitation due to low sulphur fugasity. Variations in Na, Ca, Mg, K, and Ba contents reflect the composition of the infiltrating fluid during alteration. Conventional heating-freezing measurements and proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) analyses of the fluid inclusions related to actinolite/tremolite-magnetite stage alteration indicate that the fluids that caused the alteration and the Fe-mineralisation were complex, oxidised, highly saline H2O ± CO2 fluids that contained high amounts of Na, Ca, K, Fe, and Ba as well as elevated concentrations of Cu, Zn, and Pb. The oxygen isotope thermometry suggest that temperature during the Fe-mineralisation stage was between 390 and 490°C. Calculated δ18Ofluid values of 6.1–9.8‰ SMOW and δ13C values of calcites in the ores and skarns were between −7.7 and 10.9‰ PDB and most likely reflect admixture of 13C depleted, possibly magmatic fluids with the marble wall rocks that show δ13Ccalcite values of 13‰ PDB. The SIMS U–Pb data on the zircons in the albitised gabbro next to the Raajärvi and Puro deposits suggest that intrusion of the gabbro took place at 2123±7 Ma and was accompanied by the formation of diopside skarn. The TIMS data on the metasomatic titanites related to sodic alteration yielded ages of 2062±3 and 2017±3 Ma. Iron was probably stripped from the mafic country rocks by sodic alteration between 2123 and 2017 Ma, driven by repeated brine influxes. Subsequently, the metal-rich brine was focused by a fault system and the iron was precipitated from this fluid by a combination of wall rock reaction, fluid mixing, and a drop in the temperature.

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Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge the efforts of following persons: Dr Chris Ryan, Mrs Esme van Achterberg, Mr Akseli Torppa, Dr Pasi Eilu, Dr Bo Johanson, Dr Martin Whitehouse, Mr Lev Ilyinsky, and Ms Kerstin Lindèn. Reviews by Dr Robert Moritz and an anonymous reviewer are highly appreciated. The ion microprobe facility in Stockholm (Nordsims) is operated under an agreement between the joint Nordic research councils (NOS-N), the Geological Survey of Finland and the Swedish Museum of Natural History. This paper is Nordsims publication 119. Outokumpu Oyj foundation, Academy of Finland (Grant No. 202628), and an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant provided the financial support for this work.

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Correspondence to Tero Niiranen.

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Communicated by R. Moritz

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Ion microprobe U-Pb age data on zircons from samples A1158 Matkavaara gabbro and A1695 Kielivaara felsic dyke, Misi.

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Niiranen, T., Mänttäri, I., Poutiainen, M. et al. Genesis of Palaeoproterozoic iron skarns in the Misi region, northern Finland. Miner Deposita 40, 192–217 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-005-0481-0

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Keywords

  • Iron skarn
  • Sodic-alteration
  • Palaeoproterozoic
  • Finland