Geology of Ore Deposits

, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 398–417 | Cite as

Pb Isotopic Composition and Metal Sources of Au and Ag Deposits of the South Verkhoyansk Region (Yakutia, Russia) According to High-Precision MC-ICP-MS Data

  • I. V. Chernyshev
  • A. V. Chugaev
  • N. S. Bortnikov
  • G. N. Gamyanin
  • A. V. Prokopiev


The paper considers the results of high-precision Pb–Pb isotopic analysis of 120 galena samples from 27 Au and Ag deposits of the South Verkhoyansk Synclinorium (SVS) including large Nezhdaninsky deposit (628.8 t Au). The Pb isotopic composition is analyzed on a MC-ICP-MS NEPTUNE mass-spectrometer from solutions with an error of no more than ±0.02% (2σ). Four types of deposits are studied: (i) stratified vein gold–quartz deposits (type 1) hosted in metamorphosed Upper Carboniferous–Lower Permian terrigenous rocks and formed during accretion of the Okhotsk Block to the North Asian Craton synchronously with dislocation metamorphism and related granitic magmatism; (ii) vein gold–quartz (Nezhdaninsky type) deposits also hosted in Lower Permian metasedimentary rocks; (iii) Au–Bi deposits localized at the contact zones of the Late Cretaceous granitic plutons; and (iv) Sn–Ag polymetallic deposits related to granitic and subvolcanic rocks of the Okhotsk Zone of the SVS. The deposits of types 2, 3, and 4 are postaccretionary. The general range of 206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb, and 208Pb/204Pb ratios is 18.1516–18.5903 (2.4%), 15.5175–15.6155 (0.63%), and 38.3010–39.0481 (2.0%), respectively. In 206Pb/204Pb–207Pb/204Pb and 206Pb/204Pb–208Pb/204Pb diagrams, the data points of Pb isotopic compositions of all deposits occupy restricted, partly overlapping areas along a general elongated trend. The various SVS Au–Ag deposits can be classified according to the Pb isotopic composition in accordance with all three Pb ratios. Deposits of the same type show distinct Pb isotopic compositions that strongly exceed the scale of analytical error (±0.02%). The differences in Pb isotopic composition within specific deposits are low and subordinate and have little effect on variations in the Pb isotopic composition of the SVS deposits. The μ2 values (Stacey–Kramers model), which characterize the 238U/204Pb ratios of ore lead sources of the SVS deposits, widely vary from 9.7 to 9.38. The ω2 values (232Th/204Pb) are 39.82–36.61, whereas the Th/U ratios are 4.04–3.86. The content of all three radiogenic Pb isotopes and μ2 values of feldspars from SVS intrusive rocks are strongly distinct from those of galena of stratified gold–quartz and vein gold–quartz deposits and are identical to Pb of galena from Au–Bi and Sn–Ag polymetallic deposits, indicating a mostly magmatic origin for the Pb of these deposits. Detailed isotopic study of the Nezhdaninsky deposit shows different Pb isotopic composition of two consecutive mineral assemblages (gold–sulfide and Ag polymetallic): ~0.30, ~0.07, and ~0.22% for 206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb, and 208Pb/204Pb ratios, respectively. These differences are interpreted as a result of involvement of at least two metal sources during the evolution of an ore-forming system: (i) host Lower Permian terrigenous rocks and (ii) a magmatic source similar in Pb isotopic composition to that of Sn–Ag polymetallic deposits. The Pb isotopic composition and μ2 and Th/U values show that lead of stratified gold–quartz deposits combines isotopic tracers of lower and upper crustal sources (Upper Carboniferous–Lower Permian terrigenous rocks), lead of which was mobilized by ore-bearing fluids. The high 208Pb/206Pb ratios and Th/U evolutionary parameter are common to all Pb isotopic composition of all studied Au–Ag deposits and SVS Cretaceous intrusive rocks and indicate that Pb sources were depleted in U relative to Th. Taking into account the structure of the region and conceptions on its evolution, we can suggest that the magma source was related to lower crustal subducted rocks of the Archean (~2.6 Ga) North Asian Craton and the Okhotsk terrane.


Pb isotopes high-precision MC-ICP-MS method metal sources Au and Ag deposits South Verkhoyansk Synclinorium 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. V. Chernyshev
    • 1
  • A. V. Chugaev
    • 1
  • N. S. Bortnikov
    • 1
  • G. N. Gamyanin
    • 1
  • A. V. Prokopiev
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Geology of Ore Deposits, Petrography, Mineralogy, and GeochemistryRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Geology of Diamond and Precious Metals, Siberian BranchRussian Academy of SciencesYakutskRussia

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