Abstract

Fluid mixing across unconformities between crystalline basement and overlying sedimentary basins is commonly invoked as an efficient chemical mechanism for ore deposition, but the origin of basement brines and the process of ore formation have rarely been linked by direct evidence. Using laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry microanalysis of individual fluid inclusions with an improved detection approach for anion components, we determined simultaneously the ore metal concentrations and the Cl/Br ratio in texturally well constrained inclusion assemblages from a basement-hosted quartz-fluorite-barite-Pb-Zn vein system. An inverse correlation between the Pb + Zn concentrations and the Cl/Br mass ratios in the fluid inclusions provides clear evidence for mixing of a basement-derived metal-rich brine and a metal-poor formation water that acquired its salinity from halite dissolution in Triassic evaporites of the sedimentary cover. This mixing of two distinct brines with comparable salinity is recorded during the growth of individual quartz crystals containing small galena inclusions, demonstrating the transient and episodic nature of fluid mixing during mineral deposition.

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