Abstract

The Liziyuan goldfield is located along the northern margin of the western part of the Qinling Orogen (WQO). The goldfield consists of five gold-only deposits hosted by metavolcanic rocks, and one polymetallic (Au–Ag–Pb) deposit hosted by the Tianzishan Monzogranite. As the Liziyuan goldfield appears to be spatially and temporally related to the Jiancaowan Porphyry, the study of the deposit provides a crucial insight into the relationship between tectonic-magmatic events and gold metallogenesis in the WQO. In this paper, we present whole-rock major and trace element geochemistry, and in situ zircon U–Pb and Lu–Hf isotopic data from the Tianzishan Monzogranite and Jiancaowan Porphyry. The two granitic plutons are enriched in LILEs and LREEs, depleted in HFSEs and have zircon εHf(t) values between −14.1 and −5.1 for the Tianzishan Monzogranite and between −21.0 and −8.4 for the Jiancaowan Porphyry. These characteristics indicate that the granites are derived from the crust. The Tianzishan Monzogranite has LA-ICP-MS zircon U–Pb ages of 256.1 ± 3.7 to 260.0 ± 2.1 Ma, which suggests that it was emplaced in the WQO during the convergence of the North and South (Yangtze) China cratons in the early stage of the Qinling Orogeny. In contrast, the porphyry has a LA-ICP-MS zircon U–Pb age of 229.2 ± 1.2 Ma, which is younger than the peak collision age, but corresponds to the widespread Late Triassic post-collisional granitic plutons in the WQO. The Tianzishan Monzogranite has somewhat higher Sr contents (196–631 ppm), lower Y (2.23–19.6 ppm) and Yb (0.20–2.01 ppm) contents, and a positive Eu/Eu* averaging 1.15. These characteristics suggest the pluton was derived from partial melting of the thickened crust. In contrast, the relatively higher MgO content (0.85–2.08 wt%) and Mg no. (43.4–58.2) of the Jiancaowan Porphyry indicates that insignificant amounts of subcontinental lithospheric mantle-derived mafic melts were involved in the generation of the magma. The Liziyuan goldfield is hosted by faults in greenschist-facies metamorphic rocks. Fluid inclusion studies suggest that gold was precipitated from CO2-rich, low-salinity and medium temperature fluids. This feature is consistent with the other orogenic gold deposits throughout the world. The field relationships and zircon U–Pb ages of the two granitic plutons suggest that gold mineralization is coeval with or slightly younger than the emplacement of the Jiancaowan Porphyry. Therefore, both the porphyry and deposit formed during the post-collisional stage of the Qinling Orogen.

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