Darreh-Zerreshk and Ali-Abad are two relatively small porphyry copper-type deposits in Yazd Province in central Iran. They are located within the central Iranian volcano-plutonic belt, formed above the collisional convergent margin of the Iranian lithospheric plate from the late Eocene to the Miocene. This paper discusses the geochemical characteristics of the igneous rocks, and 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of plutons and alteration phases associated with the Darreh-Zerreshk and Ali-Abad deposits. The deposits are spatially associated with igneous complexes that consist of older and barren granites intruded by intermediate-composition granitoids, which are the carriers of Cu mineralization. The granites have relatively high content of Nb, Y, and K, a prominent negative Eu anomaly, and were probably derived from melting of, or contamination of mantle-derived magmas by, continental crust. Porphyritic diorites, quartz monzodiorites, and granodiorites show enrichment in light rare earth and large-ion lithophile elements, depletion in middle rare earth elements, and have no negative Eu anomaly. These intermediate-composition granitoids were derived from melting of the upper mantle or lower crust, and their differentiation was controlled partly by fractionation of hornblende.
A pilot K/Ar whole-rock dating study suggests that the pre-ore granites were emplaced in the Oligocene. Dating by the 40Ar/39Ar method of nine samples of secondary biotite and sericitized rocks from drillcore within the mineralized and altered zones in both deposits yielded a well-defined age of ca. 16 Ma. This date is interpreted to be the time of hydrothermal alteration and of porphyry copper type mineralization in this part of Iran.