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Abstract

Critical examination of genetic hypotheses concerning the deposits comprised under this heading leads to an historical impasse which results from a fruitless combination of fundamental ideas: telethermal (telemagmatic), hydatogene (pseudo-hydrothermal), sedimentary.

The scientific problem posed by these deposits should be approached, like all geological problems, by an analysis in time and space conducted on the various scales of observation that are imposed by the size of the subject studied, in order to understand the deposit and its geological environment.

The authors therefore examine, scale by scale, the nature of the information available on stratiform deposits of lead-zinc in a carbonate environment.

The regional scale: the geo-tectonic and paleogeographic environments.

The scale of the deposit: the sedimentary environment and sedimentary characteristics of the mineralized series.

The mineralogical scale: paragenetic sequences, study of inclusions.

The chemical scale: trace elements, isotopic composition.

The logical utilization of the information obtained on the regional scale and on the scale of the deposit leads naturally to the useful orientation of prospecting for minerals. These scales likewise supply the greatest amount of significant genetic information, especially since they permit a sensible utilization of the time factor. The mineralogical scale, carefully evaluated, is beginning to be fruitful. The chemical scale is still in a state of evaluation, and it seems premature to attempt to draw worthwhile genetic conclusions.

In sum, taking into account the state of progress of our knowledge and of the development of analytic techniques, the authors recognize the possibility of several complex solutions to the problem of the genesis of stratiform deposits of lead-zinc in a carbonate environment, especially the "telethermal-sedimentary" and "sedimentary-hydatogene."

However, as the result of a selection of geological assumptions, the authors favor the "sedimentary-hydatogene" hypothesis which they present in a tabulated summary.

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