Abstract

Dengjiashan, with 25 Mt at 4.77% Zn, 1.27% Pb, and 14 g/t Ag, is one of the largest SEDEX (sedimentaryexhalative) Zn–Pb sulfide deposits in the western Qinling orogenic belt, China. The ore is hosted in chert stratigraphically conformable with underlying bioclastic micrite and overlying phyllite of an intensely folded and faulted Middle Devonian sedimentary sequence. The fact that the major orebodies are located between platformal limestone and overlying phyllite indicates that mineralization took place when the Dengjiashan sedimentary sub-basin subsided from an open platform to a shallow-marine basin within an extensional tectonic setting. The deposit comprises 16 sulfide orebodies, of which the #1 and #9 orebodies are the two largest and account for 95% of ore reserves. The massive sulfide lenses are mainly composed of sphalerite, pyrite, and galena, with minor chalcopyrite, tetrahedrite, cinnabar, pyrargyrite, freibergite, boulangerite, polybasite, and trace amounts of owyheeite and native gold. The gangue is dominated by quartz, calcite, barite, and ankerite, with minor amounts of sericite, chlorite, celsian, cymrite, and albite. The rare-earth element patterns of sulfide beds and host chert suggest that the mineralizing fluids were dominated by oxidized seawater that leached Eu from feldspar in basement rocks. Strontium isotopes also suggest that the hydrothermal fluids were composed of Devonian seawater that leached radiogenic Sr along the flow path. Lead isotope ratios form an array between the upper crust and orogene curves in the 207Pb/204Pb–206Pb/204Pb diagram, indicating that lead was leached from crustal rocks below the deposits. Sulfur isotopes indicate that bacterial sulfate reduction (BSR) sulfide formed in a sub-basin restricted to sulfate where it mixed with heavy hydrothermal sulfur from thermochemical sulfate reduction (TSR) of Devonian seawater sulfate.

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