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A Paleozoic mercury mineralisation event in South China: In situ U-Pb dating and chemical compositions of calcite from the Jianyan Hg deposit

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Abstract

The ages of hydrothermal Hg deposits are difficult to constrain because of the lack of suitable minerals for dating. The South China low-temperature metallogenic domain hosts numerous Hg deposits, including the Jianyan Hg deposit that is composed mainly of cinnabar and calcite. There are two stages of calcite in the deposit: syn-ore calcite (Cal-I) and post-ore/barren calcite (Cal-II). Cal-I is mainly euhedral-subhedral and fine-grained, has homogeneous grey luminescence, and is associated with cinnabar. Subhedral-anhedral Cal-II crosscuts Cal-I and is relatively coarse-grained. The syn-ore Cal-I has high U contents (0.1–1.3 ppm) and U/Pb ratios (up to 4.2), and is thus suitable for U-Pb dating. Using a laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometer equipped with ion counters, we obtained a U-Pb age of 426.3±5.7 Ma (MSWD=1.5) for Cal-I. This age is interpreted to represent the timing of Hg mineralisation at Jianyan and is similar to ages of 440–400 Ma reported for many carbonate-hosted Pb-Zn and Ba-F deposits in South China. Based on the present results in combination with existing geochemical and geochronological data, we infer that these deposits belong to a Paleozoic Hg-Pb-Zn-Ba-F mineralisation system that was controlled by Caledonian tectonism.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the Non-Ferrous Metals and Nuclear Industry Geological Exploration Bureau of Guizhou for assistance during fieldwork; Ai Duc NGUYEN, Gang XIA (The University of Queensland, Brisbane) for help in the laboratory; and Yong-Bin WANG (Yunnan University, Kunming) and Zhi-Long HUANG, Zhen-Zhong XIANG, and Zhuo-Jun XIE (Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guiyang) for fruitful discussions. This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 41872095, U1812402, and 42172082), the Research Startup Project of Yunnan University (Grant No. YJRC4201804), and the Talents Program Project of Yunnan Province (Grant No. YNQR-QNRC-2018-104) to Jiaxi ZHOU.

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Correspondence to Jiaxi Zhou or Meifu Zhou.

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Luo, K., Zhou, J., Cugerone, A. et al. A Paleozoic mercury mineralisation event in South China: In situ U-Pb dating and chemical compositions of calcite from the Jianyan Hg deposit. Sci. China Earth Sci. 66, 1877–1891 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11430-022-1106-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11430-022-1106-4

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