Abstract

Minor intrusions in the Menzies – Kambalda greenstone belt of the Archean Eastern Goldfields Province, Western Australia, range from quartz–feldspar porphyry to plagioclase–hornblende porphyry. The porphyries display enrichment of mobile and incompatible elements (K to Zr) and depletion of relatively compatible elements, with negative Nb, P, and Ti anomalies, on mid-ocean-ridge basalt-normalized spidergrams. The composition and timing of emplacement of the porphyries are consistent with a genetic relationship with spatially related granitoids. Porphyries occur in 30% of gold mines in the Menzies–Kambalda belt. The association appears to be largely structural, since both the intrusions and the mineralizing fluids exploit zones of weaknesses, such as lithological contacts and shear zones. Porphyries have been modified to varying degrees by hydrothermal alteration, especially pervasive albitization. Textural evidence indicates that secondary albite and associated sodic amphibole formed late in the deformation history of the greenstones and were broadly contemporaneous with secondary phyllosilicate, carbonate and sulphide minerals related to gold mineralization. Recent studies in the Alleghany district of California suggest the initial rock composition may critically influence the nature of alteration associated with gold mineralization. Therefore, albitization of porphyries may be caused by the same hydrothermal fluids that deposit gold and produce potassic alteration in mafic rocks.

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