Abstract

The Brunswick No. 12 massive sulphide deposit occurs within a Middle Ordovician bimodal volcanic and sedimentary sequence that is thought to have formed in a continental back-arc rift covered with a thick succession of carbonaceous hemipelagic and turbiditic sedimentary rocks. The deposit consists of three en echelon lenses that are zoned from Vent Complex to Bedded Ore and Bedded pyrite facies. The Bedded Ore facies has the lowest average δ34S values (14.2graphic), but are only slightly less positive than laminated pyrite in footwall sedimentary rocks (δ34Smean = 15.1graphic). δ34S values for the bedded sulphides show an upward increase from 14.2graphic in Bedded Ore to 16.5graphic in Bedded Pyrite. Average δ34S values for Vent Complex (15.8graphic) and underlying stringer sulphides (16.1graphic) are consistently more positive than those for Bedded Ore. In carbonaceous shales and siltstone of the Patrick Brook Formation that underlie the deposit, δ34S values that range between 13.8 and 25.6graphic, and the similarity of these values to those of the Brunswick No. 12 deposit indicate major bacterial reduction of sulphate to sulphide under closed or partly closed conditions, and that most of the S in the deposit originated from ambient sulphidic bottom waters. Furthermore, the average δ34S value for Brunswick No. 12 bedded ores lies on the Selwyn Basin pyrite evolutionary curve and indicates that anoxic conditions within the Tetagouche back-arc basin reflect a global anoxic episode. The Brunswick No. 12 deposit probably formed, therefore, by the mixing of hydrothermal metals with dissolved sulphide of seawater origin during periods of ocean anoxia. The increase of δ34S values towards the Vent Complex may reflect the addition of isotopically heavy S formed by the inorganic reduction of seawater sulphate.

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