Episodic modes of operation in hydrothermal gold systems: Part II. A model for gold deposition
Bruce E. Hobbs, Alison Ord, 2018. "Episodic modes of operation in hydrothermal gold systems: Part II. A model for gold deposition", Characterization of Ore-Forming Systems from Geological, Geochemical and Geophysical Studies, K. Gessner, T.G. Blenkinsop, P. Sorjonen-Ward
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Coupling between the physical processes intrinsic to a hydrothermal system can lead to episodic and chaotic behaviour. Such behaviour includes variations in both space and time of the temperature, fluid pressure and activity of H2S, which result in the deposition of alteration mineral assemblages, zoned pyrite and gold; these variations are multifractal. In particular, the coupling of deformation and simultaneous endothermic and exothermic reactions with fluid flow leads to the highly localized deposition of gold. We discuss the physical and chemical mechanisms for such episodic and localization behaviour and explore the non-linear dynamic reasons why such mechanisms are recorded in the multifractal paragenetic sequence and deformation history. The synchronization of intrinsic episodicity as described here and extrinsic forcing induced by episodic seismicity provides another mechanism for enhancing the yield of gold deposition processes and hence the grade of orogenic gold deposits.
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Economically viable concentrations of mineral resources are uncommon in Earth’s crust. Most ore deposits that were mined in the past or are currently being extracted were found at or near Earth’s surface, often serendipitously. To meet the future demand for mineral resources, exploration success hinges on identifying targets at depth. Achieving this requires accurate and informed models of the Earth’s crust that are consistent with all available geological, geochemical and geophysical information, paired with an understanding of how ore-forming systems relate to Earth’s evolving structure. Contributions to this volume address the future resources challenge by (i) applying advanced microscale geochemical detection and characterization methods, (ii) introducing more rigorous 3D Earth models, (iii) exploring critical behaviour and coupled processes, (iv) evaluating the role of geodynamic and tectonic setting and (v) applying 3D structural models to characterize specific ore-forming systems.