Abstract

Field relations indicate that high-temperature hydrothermal circulation and accumulation of massive sulfide deposits within the Solea graben of the Troodos ophiolite, Cyprus, followed extreme crustal attenuation. Zones of pervasive, massive epidosite strike parallel to the axis of the Solea graben and to the strike of extensional normal faults. Initial fluid flow, evidenced by preferential epidotization in weakly altered areas surrounding massively altered regions, was focused along joints, microfractures, and (now) low-angle normal-fault zones related to graben formation. Permeability within the sheeted-dike section was enhanced by brittle deformation related to extensional structures as well as through volume reduction inherent in the diabase to epidosite mineralogic phase transformations. Intrusion of high-level gabbros into epidosite zones occurred both before and after significant amagmatic tectonic extension. Structural control on epidotization suggests that intrusion of late stocks into attenuated and highly deformed crust is necessary to drive the vigorous hydrothermal circulation that produced the epidosites and ore bodies of the Solea graben. A similar sequence of events is more likely to occur in the modern oceans along ridge crests with ephemeral magmatism, especially at intermediate- to slow-spreading ridges near transform faults.

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