Acoustic fluid inclusion decrepitometry was applied to five Archean and 14 Palaeoproterozoic gold deposits in order to evaluate the applicability of the method in gold (Au) exploration. The sample material consists mostly of Au–sulphide-bearing and barren quartz veins. The deposits are characterized by decrepigrams and fluid inclusion geochemistry. The decrepigrams exhibit different regional characteristics for the different domains but within these domains or single ore provinces they are usually very uniform and coherent.

The decrepigrams of mineralized and barren quartz veins show recognizable differences in their discrimination in areas where this can rarely be discerned by mere visual observation. Furthermore, the highest concentration of Au usually correlates with the peak frequency of gaseous (CO2 and CH4) fluid inclusions which decrepitate at temperatures below 350°C, and with the highest amount of other fluid inclusion types (H2O–CO2±CH4 and H2O), which decrepitate over a wide range at temperatures above 350°C. These results show that careful collection and assessment of decrepitation data may play a small but constructive role in Au exploration.

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