Geological setting, alteration, and fluid inclusion characteristics of Zaglic and Safikhanloo epithermal gold prospects, NW Iran
Susan Ebrahimi, Saeed Alirezaei, Yuanming Pan, 2011. "Geological setting, alteration, and fluid inclusion characteristics of Zaglic and Safikhanloo epithermal gold prospects, NW Iran", Granite-Related Ore Deposits, A. N. Sial, J. S. Bettencourt, C. P. De Campos, V. P. Ferreira
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The Zaglic and Safikhanloo epithermal gold prospects are located in the Arasbaran zone, to the west of the Cenozoic Alborz-Azarbaijan magmatic belt in NW Iran. Mineralization is mainly restricted to quartz and quartz -carbonate veins and veinlets. Pyrite is the main sulphide, associated with subordinate chalcopyrite and bornite. Gold occurs as microscopic and submicroscopic grains in quartz and pyrite.
The country rocks are Tertiary intermediate–mafic volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks of andesite to trachy-andesite composition intruded by a composite granitic to syenitic pluton. They are medium- to high-K, calc-alkaline and alkaline rocks and display fractionated REE (rare earth element) patterns, with light rare earth elements (LREE) significantly enriched relative to the heavy rare elements (HREE). On primitive mantle normalized plots, they display depletions in Nb, Ti and P, and enrichments in Pb, which are common characteristics of arc-related magmas worldwide. Hydrothermal alteration minerals developed in the wall rocks include quartz, calcite, pyrite, kaolinite, montmorillonite, illite, chlorite, and epidote. Minor alunite occurs in Safikhanloo. Gold is locally enriched in the altered rocks immediate to the veins.
The ore-stage quartz from both prospects is dominated by liquid-rich fluid inclusions; vapour-rich inclusions are rare. The homogenization temperature varies between 170–230 and 170–330 °C and salinity varies between 1.4 to 9.5 and <1 to 6.7 wt% NaCl equivalent, for Safikhanloo and Zaglic, respectively. The occurrence of hydrothermal breccias, bladed calcite, adularia, and rare coexisting vapour- and liquid-dominant inclusions suggest that boiling occurred in the course of the evolution of the ore fluids. The large variations in Th and the salinity values can be explained by boiling and/or mixing.
Lack of sulphate minerals in the veins suggests that sulphides and gold precipitated from a reduced, H2S-dominant fluid. Calculated δ34S values for the ore fluid vary between −4.6 and −9.3‰. Sulphur could have been derived directly from magmatic sources, or leached from the volcanic and plutonic country rocks. Ore formation in Zaglic and Safikhanloo occurred in response to mixing, boiling, and interactions with wall rocks. Considering the intermediate-argillic alteration, the low contents of base metal sulphides, and the overall low salinities, the Zaglic and Safikhanloo can be classified as low-sulphidation epithermal systems.