Abstract

The Lemarchant deposit is a Cambrian bimodal felsic Zn-Pb-Cu-Ag-Au volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit located in the Central Mobile Belt, Newfoundland, Canada. Despite regional greenschist metamorphism and faulting, primary mineralogy and mineral textures are well preserved. The deposit is a type example of a precious metal-enriched VMS deposit in the Appalachians. Mineralization consists of a stratiform massive sulfide zone that lies at the contact between a rhyolitic footwall and a basaltic hanging wall. A stringer sulfide zone that is hosted in footwall rhyolite breccia underlies the massive sulfide lens. The stratiform sulfide zone contains massive baryte that is heterogeneously replaced by sphalerite and pyrite, lesser galena, and trace chalcopyrite. The stringer zone contains chalcopyrite, pyrite, and lesser sphalerite and galena. Sphalerite ranges in color from white (low-Fe) to red (high-Fe). The palest sphalerite (<1 mol.% FeS) occurs in the baryte-rich stratiform zone and is associated with early stage exhalative mineralization, intermediate sulfidation epithermal suite minerals (tetrahedrite, bornite, colusite, Ag-bearing gold, covellite) and sulfide minerals enriched in the epithermal trace element suite (Au, Ag, As, Bi, Co, Cr, In, Mo, Ni, Sb, Sn, Te). Darker sphalerite (4.7–13.6 mol.% FeS) in the stratiform zone overprints early stage mineralization and occurs with chalcopyrite; high-Fe sphalerite is also present in the stringer zone.

Early exhalative/epithermal-type VMS mineralization was deposited from low temperature (150–250 °C), oxidized, acidic to near-neutral hydrothermal fluids with high sulfur activity. Early mineralization was likely deposited in relatively shallow water (<1500 mbsl) that intermittently boiled and precipitated Au in the stratiform zone. Late-stage polymetallic, Cu-rich VMS mineralization was deposited from higher temperature (>300 °C), less oxidized, near-neutral hydrothermal fluids, likely in deeper water (>1500 mbsl). Abundant epithermal suite minerals and epithermal trace element suite-enriched sulfides at Lemarchant suggest a direct magmatic contribution to the hydrothermal fluid.

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