The Dongrae fault within the Yangsan fault system is considered one of the major faults in the southeastern part of Korea, extending over 150 km. The results of K-Ar radiogenic dating of fault gouges collected from six localities show a relatively wide range in age from 57.5 million years ago (Ma) to 40.3 Ma. Fault gouges are composed of newly formed minerals, including smectite, illite, zeolite, kaolinite, K-rich feldspar, apatite, and pyrite. The occurrence of abundant smectite and illite-1Md with lesser quantities of zeolite suggests that the fault gouges experienced hydrothermal alteration at low temperatures. Smectite is probably unstable relative to other clay minerals, such as illite and zeolite. Considering that filiform mordenite is replacing the smectite, we suggest that mordenite formed by re-crystallization involving a solid-state transformation. Under high fluid/rock ratios, smectite seems to have formed in the early stage of alteration. In contrast, zeolite minerals and authigenic K-rich feldspar progressively appeared with time as the fluid/rock ratio decreased with the changing chemistry of the hydrothermal fluids. The composition of clay minerals in the gouge materials probably was controlled by the chemistry and the amount of circulating fluids derived from adjacent granitic rocks.

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