Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 409–428 | Cite as

The Kharapeh orogenic gold deposit: geological, structural, and geochemical controls on epizonal ore formation in West Azerbaijan Province, Northwestern Iran

  • Shojaeddin Niroomand
  • Richard J. Goldfarb
  • Farid Moore
  • Mohammad Mohajjel
  • Erin E. MarshEmail author


The Kharapeh gold deposit is located along the northwestern margin of the Sanandaj–Sirjan Zone (SSZ) in the West Azerbaijan province, Iran. It is an epizonal orogenic gold deposit formed within the deformed zone between central Iran and the Arabian plate during the Cretaceous–Tertiary Zagros orogeny. The deposit area is underlain by Cretaceous schist and marble, as well as altered andesite and dacite dikes. Structural analysis indicates that the rocks underwent tight to isoclinal recumbent folding and were subsequently co-axially refolded to upright open folds during a second deformation. Late- to post-tectonic Cenozoic granites and granodiorites occur northeast of the deposit area. Mineralization mainly is recognized within NW-trending extensional structures as veins and breccia zones. Normal faults, intermediate dikes, and quartz veins, oriented subparallel to the axial surface of the Kharapeh antiform, indicate synchronous extension perpendicular to the fold axis during the second folding event. The gold-bearing quartz veins are >1 km in length and average about 6 m in width; breccia zones are 10–50 m in length and ≤1 m in width. Hydrothermal alteration mainly consists of silicification, sulfidation, chloritization, sericitization, and carbonatization. Paragenetic relationships indicate three distinct stages—replacement and silicification, brecciation and fracture filling, and cataclastic brecciation—with the latter two being gold-rich. Fluid inclusion data suggest mineral deposition at temperatures of at least 220–255°C and depths of at least 1.4–1.8 km, from a H2O–CO2±CH4 fluid of relatively high salinity (12–14 wt.% NaCl equiv.), which may reflect metamorphism of passive margin carbonate sequences. Ore fluid δ18O values between about 7‰ and 9‰ suggest no significant meteoric water input, despite gold deposition in a relatively shallow epizonal environment. Similarities to other deposits in the SSZ suggest that the deposit formed as part of a diachronous gold event during the middle to late Tertiary throughout the SSZ and during the final stages of the Zagros orogeny. The proximity of Kharapeh to the main tectonic suture of the orogen, well-developed regional fold systems with superimposed complex fracture geometries, and recognition of nearby volcanogenic massive sulfide systems that suggest a region characterized by sulfur- and metal-rich crustal rocks, collectively indicate an area of the SSZ with high favorability for undiscovered gold resources.


Kharapeh Epizonal orogenic gold Zagros orogeny Sanandaj–Sirjan Iran 



This study was financially supported by research funds from the Geological Survey of Iran. We gratefully thank Ryan Taylor of the USGS for assistance and some laboratory analyses. Thanks are also extended to the Shiraz University research committee for various support. Dr M. Berberian is thanked for critically reading the manuscript, as well as referees Steffen Hagemann and Olivo Gema for improving an earlier version, and editor Bernd Lehmann for additional constructive comments. Final reviews by Garth Graham and Ryan Taylor are also appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag (outside the USA) 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shojaeddin Niroomand
    • 1
  • Richard J. Goldfarb
    • 2
  • Farid Moore
    • 1
  • Mohammad Mohajjel
    • 3
  • Erin E. Marsh
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, College of SciencesShiraz UniversityShirazIran
  2. 2.United States Geological Survey, Federal CenterDenverUSA
  3. 3.Department of Earth Sciences, College of SciencesTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran

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