Abstract

Despite intensive efforts, determination of a predictable pattern of gold distribution to enhance process understanding and simplify exploration has remained elusive. The pattern of gold distribution along the Archean Boulder-Lefroy shear zone in the Yilgarn craton of Western Australia provides insights into gold distribution in one of the world's richest provinces. Four world-class gold deposits, including the giant Golden Mile at Kalgoorlie, are regularly spaced along the shear zone, providing a window into understanding large-scale Archean hydrothermal systems. Relationships among gold endowment, shear-zone trend, and geologic complexity, as measured by fractal dimensions, indicate that (1) ore fluids were focused into those parts of the shear zone with greatest misorientation from the regional trend, which define dilational sites during shearing and became the sites of world-class gold deposits; and (2) the degree of complexity contrast along the shear zone modulated gold endowment.

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