Temporal relations between mineral deposits and global tectonic cycles
Peter A. Cawood, Chris J. Hawkesworth, 2015. "Temporal relations between mineral deposits and global tectonic cycles", Ore Deposits in an Evolving Earth, G. R. T. Jenkin, P. A. J. Lusty, I. Mcdonald, M. P. Smith, A. J. Boyce, J. J. Wilkinson
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Mineral deposits are heterogeneously distributed in both space and time, with variations reflecting tectonic setting, evolving environmental conditions, as in the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and secular changes in the Earth’s thermal history. The distribution of deposit types whose settings are tied to plate margin processes (e.g. orogenic gold, volcanic-hosted massive sulphide, Mississippi valley type Pb–Zn deposits) correlates well with the supercontinent cycle, whereas deposits related to intra-cratonic settings and mantle-driven igneous events, such as Ni–Cu–PGE deposits, lack a clear association. The episodic distribution of deposits tied to the supercontinent cycle is accentuated by selective preservation and biasing of rock units and events during supercontinent assembly, a process that encases the deposit within the assembled supercontinent and isolates it from subsequent removal and recycling at plate margins.
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Ore deposits form by a variety of natural processes that concentrate elements into a volume that can be economically mined. Their type, character and abundance reflect the environment in which they formed and thus they preserve key evidence for the evolution of magmatic and tectonic processes, the state of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, and the evolution of life over geological time. This volume presents 13 papers on topical subjects in ore deposit research viewed in the context of Earth evolution. These diverse, yet interlinked, papers cover topics including: controls on the temporal and spatial distribution of ore deposits; the sources of fluid, gold and other components of orogenic gold deposits; the degree of oxygenation in the Neoproterozoic ocean; bacterial immobilization of gold in the semi-arid near-surface environment; and mineral resources for the future, including issues of resource estimation, sustainability of supply and the criticality of certain elements to society.