Many porphyry molybdenum deposits are hosted in multi-phase plutons, but it is unclear in some deposits how these magmas originated and whether the pluton intruded as it fractionated or was intruded by new batches of magma. New mapping has clarified field relationships between units in the White Pine porphyry Mo system hosted in the Little Cottonwood stock, Utah (western United States), including the White Pine intrusion, the Red Pine porphyry, rhyolite dikes, and phreatomagmatic pebble dikes. Geologic relations and geochemistry show the system formed in a continental arc setting during rollback of the subducting Farallon slab rather than during extension related to orogenic collapse. Whole-rock geochemistry shows distinct fractionation trends for each of the major intrusive units in the composite pluton, suggesting they formed separately, which is supported by new U-Pb zircon laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) ages of ca. 30 Ma for the Little Cottonwood stock, 27 Ma for the White Pine intrusion, and 26 Ma for the previously undated Red Pine porphyry. Mineral textures, cross-cutting relationships, and alteration mineralogy indicate that intrusion of the youngest phase led to a fluid-saturated magmatic system and triggered venting, including emplacement of pebble dikes. In the adjacent east Traverse Mountains, pebble dikes contain clasts that have similar mineral assemblages, textures, and ages as the major igneous units in the White Pine deposit. This indicates that the pebble dikes in east Traverse Mountains and in the pluton are the upper and lower parts of the same magmatic-hydrothermal system, which was decapitated by a mega-landslide that was likely facilitated by alteration in the Oligocene hydrothermal system and by later Basin and Range faulting.
Multi-stage construction of the Little Cottonwood stock, Utah, USA: Origin, intrusion, venting, mineralization, and mass movement
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Collin G. Jensen, Eric H Christiansen, Jeffrey D. Keith; Multi-stage construction of the Little Cottonwood stock, Utah, USA: Origin, intrusion, venting, mineralization, and mass movement. Geosphere 2022; doi: https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02369.1
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