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Abstract

Carlin-type Au deposits in Guizhou Province, China, have similarities to and differences from the Carlin-type Au deposits in Nevada, USA. The Shuiyindong and Jinfeng deposits, located in the Guizhou Province of southern China, are compared with the Getchell and Cortez Hills Carlin-type Au deposits of Nevada in terms of ore paragenesis and pyrite chemistry. The Guizhou deposits formed in a tectonic setting similar to Nevada with the deposition of passive-margin sequences in a rifted cratonic margin context with subsequent deformation. In both districts, orebodies are preferentially hosted in limestone and calcareous siltstone and are related to faults, gold is invisible and ionically bound in arsenian pyrite, and ore-stage minerals include quartz and illite with late ore-stage minerals, including calcite, realgar, orpiment, and stibnite.

Despite major similarities, however, the Guizhou deposits have characteristics that contrast with those of Carlin-type deposits of Nevada. Significant differences include the following:

  1. Guizhou ore-stage pyrite is commonly subhedral to euhedral, and typical Nevada fuzzy ore pyrite is absent. Guizhou ore pyrite contains significantly less Au, As, Hg, Tl, Cu, and Sb than the Nevada ore pyrite.

  2. Decarbonatization in Nevada deposits is expressed by extensive removal of calcite, dolomite, and Fe dolomite. In contrast, decarbonatization in the Guizhou deposits results in loss of most primary calcite, but Fe dolomite was instead sulfidized, forming ore pyrite and dolomite. This alteration is a key process in the formation of ore pyrite in the Guizhou deposits. Silicification in Nevada deposits is characterized by jasperoid replacement of calcite, dolomite, and Fe dolomite, whereas in the Guizhou deposits jasperoid replaced mainly calcite but not Fe dolomite or dolomite. Minor vein quartz, which formed during the early ore stage in Guizhou deposits, has not been identified in Nevada deposits. Clay alteration in the Nevada deposits is characterized by formation of significant illite and variable kaolinite/dickite; however, in the Guizhou deposits, trace to minor illite is present and kaolinite is uncommon.

  3. Late ore-stage arsenopyrite and vein quartz are common in Guizhou deposit but are rare in Nevada deposits.

  4. Guizhou ore fluids contained significantly more CO2 and were higher in temperature and pressure compared with the ore fluids in Nevada deposits.

  5. To date, magmatism spatially or temporally associated with the Guizhou deposits has not been recognized. Conversely, the Nevada deposits coincide in time and space with the southward sweep of Eocene magmatism and related extension.

Dolomite-stable alteration in Guizhou formed from less acidic, CO2-rich ore fluids at higher temperature and pressure compared with Nevada deposits, reflecting similarities between Guizhou deposits and orogenic systems. Study results are consistent with Guizhou deposits having formed in a transitional setting between typical orogenic gold and shallow Carlin-type deposits, as indicated by estimated pressure-temperature conditions at the time of gold deposition and ore-forming fluid chemistry.

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