The European Scene, Section A
Modern sedimentological analysis of environmental and depositional conditions can be applied not only to sediments, but equally successfully to ore deposits in sediments. Using these methods, the lead-zinc deposits of the Middle Triassic Alpine geosyncline have been studied. The ores were found to be restricted to few distinct beds of the enormous limestone-dolomite sequence, and characterized by a very distinct “special facies”. This facies development indicates multiform and repeated changes of the sedimentary conditions in time and space within a typical differentiated reef facies. Simultaneously, a submarine volcanism of varying activity appeared in the different regions of the Middle Triassic geosyncline.
The first enrichment of metal ions took place mainly in the synsedimentary stage at the sea floor, or was caused partly by ascending thermal solutions within the deeper units of the same sediment sequence. The quantitatively predominating vein- and replacement-ores are the products of diagenetic transformations which the ore-bearing sediments have undergone from the first stage of sedimentation up to the intensive folding during the Alpidian orogenesis. The importance of diagenetic transformations and the role of hydatogenous solutions for ore deposits in sediments are emphasized.
Figures & Tables
Genesis of Stratiform Lead-Zinc-Barite-Fluorite Deposits (Mississippi Valley Type Deposits)
Proponents of syngenetic theory base their interpretation largely on widespread uniform mineralization within a restricted stratigraphic interval and a consistent relationship of mineralization to sedimentary features. Proponents of epigenetic theory base their interpretation on mineralization of post-depositional structures, changes in extent and grade of ore, open space filling, district-wide lack of close control by sedimentary features, and relation of ore to tectonic structures. These and other criteria are evaluated in an attempt to define diagnostic criteria.
On the basis of the criteria defined the major lead-zinc deposits of Mid-continent United States must be considered as epigenetic.
Features of the Southeast Missouri lead district are listed. The deposits are epigenetic. The metals are believed to have been derived from nearby sedimentary basins and carried out of basins onto shelf areas in a concentrated brine. Movement of solutions was controlled by basement topography and deposition of metals occurred when solutions entered the Bonneterre formation on the flanks of and over buried knobs.
Objective.—The problem of origin of stratiform ore bodies cannot be resolved until we define, and agree upon, what constitutes diagnostic evidence for each type of deposit. This paper is an attempt to review the nature of geologic evidence; to define those features that must be regarded as unique and necessary criteria in classifying any deposit or district; and to apply the criteria to a major district, the Southeast Missouri lead deposits.
Theories of Origin.—The major elements of theories on origin of stratiform ore bodies are summarized in Table 1. A deposit is Syngcnetic if formed by processes similar to and simultaneously with the enclosing rock; epigenetic if introduced into a pre-existing rock (3). A diagenetic origin implies deposition of metals with the host sediments but with recrystallization, rearrangement, and limited migration.
The search for an acceptable theory of origin must be separated into its two component parts: (1) definition of whether the deposit has syngenetic, diagenetic, or epigenetic features and. (2) history of mineralization to explain source, transport, and deposition of metals. A statement of preferred hypothesis is meaningless until the first is answered and accounts for all geologic facts. The answer must be based solely on observed megascopic and microscopic features and on geochemical and isotopic data; it should not be biased by lack of knowledge to answer all phases of the second. In evaluating the evidence to determine type of deposit one cannot be concerned