Abstract

The Vazante Mine is located in the Vazante District, the largest zinc district in Brazil. The Vazante deposit consists dominantly of an unusual willemitic ore. Small sulfide bodies are tectonically imbricated with the willemitic ore, within the Vazante shear zone. Structural styles of deformation and petrographic and isotopic evidence indicate that willemitic mineralization and deformation occurred synchronously during the Neo-Proterozoic. Various generations of hydrothermal veins and hydraulic breccias may pre-date, accompany and overprint the mineralization. Ore-formation temperatures are deduced from stable isotope geothermometry and mineral chemistry of both sulfide bodies and willemitic ore. Temperatures during the main stage of mineralization range from 206 degrees C to 294 degrees C (willemitic ore) and 317 degrees C (sulfides), and reflect the prevailing metamorphic conditions within the shear zone. The fluid from which the gangue minerals of the sulfide bodies precipitated (at 250 degrees C) had an oxygen isotopic average value of delta 18 O = +19.4 per mil. This value appears to reflect the interaction of metamorphic fluid with the carbonate rocks of the Vazante formation. At 250 degrees C, the fluid in equilibrium with the vein mineral phases and willemitic ore assemblage exhibits a uniform oxygen isotopic composition, with an average value of delta 18 O = +11.5 per mil. The positive linear covariance of delta 18 O and delta 13 C ratios of the carbonates is most likely due to the mixing of metamorphic and meteoric fluids. The delta 34 S values of sulfides indicate a direct crustal origin for the sulfur. It is suggested that the sulfur is largely derived from pre-existing sulfide bodies and has been transported by metamorphic fluids. The willemitic ore may have originated from the precipitation of metal in sulfur-poor fluids under oxidized conditions, within the Vazante shear zone.

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