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Tectonic pattern and relative age of Ba-rich veins in front of a poly-deformed Precambrian inlier (Saghro, Morocco)

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Abstract

The present study reports the first structural analysis of tectonic-controlled ore deposits in the Paleozoic southern flank of the Saghro massif (Anti-Atlas belt, Morocco). The mineralization consists mainly of quartz-barite and occurs as a vein system along tectonic damage zones (fault/fracture), predominantly hosted within the Tabanit sandstones of the middle Cambrian. The orebodies fill a system of dilatation tectonic jogs with a lenticular geometry driven by NNE-SSW, NE-SW, and NW-SE oblique-slip opening fault systems that consist with a transtensional tectonic setting. Most of the barite structures intersect dolerite dykes (e.g., Foum Zguid dyke) and sills dated from the Triassic-Jurassic period. These crosscutting relationships suggest that the barite precipitated at least since the Jurassic age of host rocks, probably associated with the Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous magmatic-mineralizing event. Reworked hydrothermal/tectonic breccias and ore brittle-offset mark the post-mineralization deformation which most likely occurred during the Alpine “Atlasic” orogeny. The present study demonstrates the significant role of multi-scale structural studies in unraveling both the relative age of mineralization and the associated tectonic events within metallogenic domains like the southern front of the Saghro massif, located along the northern edge of the West African Craton.

Resumen

El presente estudio presenta el primer análisis estructural de yacimientos controlados tectónicamente en el flanco sur paleozoico del macizo de Saghro (cinturón Anti-Atlas, Marruecos). La mineralización consiste principalmente en cuarzo-barita y se produce como un sistema de vetas a lo largo de zonas de daño tectónico (fallas/fracturas), predominantemente alojadas dentro de las areniscas Tabanit del Cámbrico medio. Los yacimientos rellenan un sistema de jogs tectónicos de dilatación con una geometría lenticular impulsada por sistemas de fallas de apertura de deslizamiento oblicuo NNE-SSW, NE-SW y NW-SE que consisten en un entorno tectónico transtensional. La mayoría de las estructuras de barita intersectan diques de dolerita (por ejemplo, el dique de Foum Zguid) y sills que datan del período Triásico-Jurásico. Estas relaciones transversales sugieren que la barita precipitó al menos desde la edad Jurásica de las rocas hospedantes, probablemente asociada al evento magmático-mineralizador del Jurásico Superior-Cretácico Inferior. Las brechas hidrotermales/tectónicas retrabajadas y el desplazamiento frágil del mineral marcan la deformación posterior a la mineralización, que muy probablemente se produjo durante la orogenia alpina “Atlasica”. El presente estudio demuestra el importante papel que desempeñan los estudios estructurales multiescala a la hora de desentrañar tanto la edad relativa de la mineralización como los acontecimientos tectónicos asociados dentro de dominios metalogénicos como el frente meridional del macizo de Saghro, situado a lo largo del borde septentrional del Cratón de África Occidental.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Dr. David Cruset and the other anonymous reviewer, for their relevant corrections, remarques and suggestions which greatly contributed to refining and enhancing the quality of this work. We express our genuine thanks to José A. Álvarez Gómez, Editor of the Journal of Iberian geology, for his assessment, counsel, expertise, and invaluable assistance throughout the review and publication phases.

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Nait-Bba, A., Aabi, A., Samaoui, S. et al. Tectonic pattern and relative age of Ba-rich veins in front of a poly-deformed Precambrian inlier (Saghro, Morocco). J Iber Geol (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41513-024-00239-9

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