Abstract

Evidence is presented that links the timing of vein-type (Cu-Ag(U)) to stratiform Mississippi Valley-type (MVT, Pb-Zn) ore events in Ireland. The rare occurrence of pitchblende, coffinite(?), and brannerite mineralization, which is regarded as a precursor component to the sulfide mineralization in the Gortdrum deposit (Ireland), provides the first direct radiometric dating tool for these carbonate-hosted deposits. The U-Pb (340 +25/−20 Ma) and Pb-Pb (359 ±26 Ma) whole-rock ages constrain the uranium and base-metal mineralizing events to the Early Carboniferous. The data support a model according to which MVT and earlier uranium mineralization stages of some major orebodies resulted from fracturing coincident with large basin-dewatering events. The Pb-Pb and concordia data are consistent with an Early Carboniferous age for the mineralization at Gortdrum and agree closely with a previously published Rb-Sr age of 359 ±22 Ma, obtained for Missouri glauconites. Furthermore, other comparative geologic data from Ireland and from North American MVT mineral provinces support a model of Pb-Zn-Cu(U) mobilization on a regional scale that implicates the later closing stages of the proto-Atlantic.

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