Skip to main content

Relative oxidation states of magmas inferred from Ce(IV)/Ce(III) in zircon: application to porphyry copper deposits of northern Chile

Abstract.

Major- and trace-element compositions of zircons and whole rocks from 14 barren and seven ore-bearing calc-alkaline intrusions from the Chuquicamata-El Abra porphyry copper belt of northern Chile have been measured in situ by excimer laser ablation (ELA) ICP-MS. These data permit the Ce(IV)/Ce(III) ratio within zircon to be calculated using a lattice-strain model for mineral-melt partitioning of Ce(IV) and Ce(III). Zircon Ce(IV)/Ce(III) and EuN/EuN* ratios, and by inference magmatic oxidation states, generally increase from older, mafic to younger, felsic units. Within this sequence, porphyry copper mineralization is directly associated only with intrusions with zircon Ce(IV)/Ce(III)>300 and EuN/EuN*>0.4. Such trends can be understood in terms of interdependent relations between oxygen fugacity, sulfur speciation and solubility, and chalcophile element partitioning in silicate magmas. Because zircon occurs in most calc-alkaline intrusions and is resistant to subsolidus alteration, zircon Ce(IV)/Ce(III) ratios provide a useful tool for evaluating the economic potential of such rocks for magmatic-hydrothermal Cu±Au mineralization. The approach is general and may provide a means to infer relative oxidation state in a wide range of intermediate to felsic igneous rocks.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

Electronic Publication

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Ballard, J.R., Palin, M.J. & Campbell, I.H. Relative oxidation states of magmas inferred from Ce(IV)/Ce(III) in zircon: application to porphyry copper deposits of northern Chile. Contrib Mineral Petrol 144, 347–364 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00410-002-0402-5

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00410-002-0402-5

Keywords

  • Zircon
  • Oxygen Fugacity
  • Copper Deposit
  • Porphyry Copper
  • Silicate Magma