A soil-gas survey conducted above the Junction orogenic lode-gold deposit near Kambalda in Western Australia detected strong, broadly coincident, CO2–O2–light hydrocarbon anomalies through cover sediments above known mineralization. Alternatively, only CO2–O2 aberrations (without light hydrocarbons) were detected above areas where non-gold related carbonate and sulphide mineralization exists. Oxidation of the alteration assemblage associated with mineralization and the release of the gases in the fluid inclusions they contain are proposed as the source for these CO2–O2–light hydrocarbon anomalies. We believe that soil-gas exploration for orogenic gold deposits has widespread potential as an exploration method in Western Australia where regolith cover can make detection of mineralized shear zones by traditional exploration methods for gold problematic to impossible.

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