Difficulties in dating Mississippi Valley–type (MVT) mineral deposits and the often closely associated dolomitization have led to controversy regarding their origin. We report the first radiometric ages for the Gorno mining district in northern Italy, an example of the Alpine subclass of MVT deposits. U-Pb ages of hydrothermal carbonates pre- and postdating the ore-forming event show that base-metal mineralization occurred shortly after the deposition of the Carnian host rocks. This implies that the Gorno ore deposits formed at shallow burial depth prior to the Early Jurassic western Tethys rifting phase. Contemporaneous Triassic magmatism and extensional tectonics likely contributed to the high geothermal heat fluxes required to drive the mineralizing system. Our study reinforces the need for reliable geochronological data for metallogenic models and warns against a general application of classic North American MVT models to similar deposits worldwide.

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