Spatial organization of gold and alteration mineralogy in hydrothermal systems: wavelet analysis of drillcore from Sunrise Dam Gold Mine, Western Australia
Mark A. Munro, Alison Ord, Bruce E. Hobbs, 2018. "Spatial organization of gold and alteration mineralogy in hydrothermal systems: wavelet analysis of drillcore from Sunrise Dam Gold Mine, Western Australia", Characterization of Ore-Forming Systems from Geological, Geochemical and Geophysical Studies, K. Gessner, T.G. Blenkinsop, P. Sorjonen-Ward
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The spatial distributions of mineralization and alteration in hydrothermal systems are complex and are often considered to be cryptic and problematic to quantify. We used wavelet analysis of conventional hyperspectral drillcore logs to demonstrate quantitatively that primary Au mineralization, common vein-hosted mineralogy (calcite and ankerite), host rock alteration mineralogy (sericite and chlorite) and regional-scale metamorphic assemblages (amphibole) organize spatially as multifractals. This documentation of multifractal spatial organization in Au and alteration mineralogy is sufficient to show that they are the result of underlying deterministic dynamic processes as opposed to random stochastic processes. The application of wavelets to three ore bodies (GQ, Vogue and Cosmo East) from the highly endowed Archaean Sunrise Dam hydrothermal Au system of Western Australia shows that the spatial organizations of Au and ankerite are more closely associated in GQ than in Vogue. The spatial organization of Au in Vogue is more strongly associated with calcite. Primary Au mineralization and infill carbonate mineralogy are more complexly organized than sericitic and chloritic host rock alteration. Although demonstrated here for a hydrothermal system, wavelet analysis is readily applicable to downhole or outcrop data from any deposit type.
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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.