Fluid migration in sedimentary basins enable mass and energy transport and play critical roles in geochemical and geodynamical evolution of sedimentary basins. Moreover, reconstructing sedimentary basin fluid evolution from the geological record aids in constraining the evolution of associated petroleum and mineralization systems. As a relict of fluid flow activity, calcite is often a record of fluid flow and therefore can be used to characterize the fluids responsible for its precipitation.

Here we study the Nanpanjiang Basin in South China where petroleum reservoirs and Carlin-type gold deposits spatially coincide. Through in situ U-Pb dating and geochemical analysis (87Sr/86Sr, δ18OVienna standard mean ocean water, δ13CVienna Peedee belemnite, rare earth elements) of calcite, this work constrains the key times related to petroleum migration/accumulation and Carlin-type gold mineralization, defines the basin fluid evolution, and proposes a genetic model for petroleum accumulation and gold mineralization within the Nanpanjiang Basin. The U-Pb age (ca. 241.4 Ma) for the gray/black calcite related to bitumen indicates the petroleum migration/accumulation occurred during the Triassic. The U-Pb date (ca. 106–121 Ma) of the white calcite associated with the gold-bearing pyrite, realgar, and fluorite record the lower timing limit of the Carlin-type gold systems. The geochemical data suggest both calcite types are cogenetic but suffered complex evolution with the gray/black calcite precipitating under low temperatures related to the continuous basin burial and the white calcite affected by post formation alteration related to both hydrothermal and meteoric fluids. Combined with the regional tectonic history, the Early Triassic petroleum migration/accumulation and the Early Cretaceous secondary Carlin-type gold mineralization events are considered to be related to the collision between the Indo-China and South China blocks, and the subduction between the Paleo-Pacific and Eurasian plates, respectively.

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