The genesis of the newly discovered giant Wuben magmatic Fe–Ti oxide deposit in the Emeishan Large Igneous Province: a product of the late-stage redistribution and sorting of crystal slurries

  • Zhong-Jie Bai
  • Hong Zhong
  • Wei-Guang Zhu
  • Wen-Jun Hu
  • Cai-Jie Chen


A giant Fe–Ti oxide deposit hosted by the Wuben mafic intrusion has recently been discovered in the Pan–Xi area of the Emeishan Large Igneous Province (ELIP). The evolved compositions of the gangue minerals within the Fe–Ti oxide ores indicate that they formed during later stages of magma differentiation than those within the neighboring Panzhihua intrusion or other ore-bearing intrusions in this area. The rocks from the Wuben intrusion and MZb of the Panzhihua intrusion contain compositionally similar silicate minerals and have similar titanomagnetite/ilmenite ratios, suggesting that the former is related to and probably connected to the latter by subsurface magmatic conduits. This indicates that unconsolidated minerals that formed in the MZb flowed as crystal slurries into the Wuben magma chamber during the later stages of evolution of the parental magma. The later secondary enrichment of Fe–Ti oxides by mechanical redistribution and the sorting of crystals as a result of density and size differences generated the Wuben massive Fe–Ti oxide bodies. The ilmenite was commonly saturated in the magma at late stage of differentiation in the ELIP, thereby the associated deposit contains much higher contents of ilmenite. This indicates that future exploration for Fe–Ti oxide mineralization in the ELIP should not merely focus on the lower parts of large layered intrusions but should also include nearby relatively small intrusions or even the upper parts of large intrusions, especially as ilmenite-enriched Fe–Ti oxide deposits may have greater economic value than ilmenite-poor deposits.


Wuben Fe–Ti oxide deposit Secondary enrichment Crystal redistribution Crystal slurry Emeishan Large Igneous Province 



We thank WQ Zheng of the State Key Laboratory of Ore Deposit Geochemistry for the assistance in EMPA analysis. This paper has benefited greatly from discussion with C. Li. The helpful and constructive suggestions by two anonymous reviewers, along with those of the Associate Editor Marco Fiorentini, are gratefully acknowledged. This study was jointly supported by the Strategic Priority Research Program (B) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDB18000000), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41425011, 41473048, and 41203040).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhong-Jie Bai
    • 1
  • Hong Zhong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei-Guang Zhu
    • 1
  • Wen-Jun Hu
    • 1
  • Cai-Jie Chen
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Ore Deposit Geochemistry, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Geological Team 601, Sichuan Bureau of Metallurgical Geology and Mineral ExplorationPanzhihuaChina

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