The large Taolin zinc–lead–fluorite deposit in the People’s Republic of China was discovered 28 years ago, but whether its genetic affiliation is Mississippi Valley-type, epithermal, or mesothermal has remained uncertain. Both the ore and gangue (cherty to coarse quartz, plus barite, chlorite and calcite) occur as open space filling in a major fault zone between granite and metasedimentary rocks. Following barren, pre-ore quartz, three stages of ore are recognized by Wang (1978) and Wang et al. 1981. Our studies on 400 fluid inclusions, from all 4 stages, show homogenization temperatures of 120–200°C (av. =160) and salinities of 0 to 14wt% equiv. NaCl (av. 7.7). These results differ greatly from some previously published sulphur isotopic temperatures (221–344°C), and data for five inclusions that are more saline (9.0–17.7 wt% equiv. NaCl) and much hotter (up to 345°C).

This study provides good examples of a variety of problems that are encountered in the application of fluid inclusion data to mineral deposit research in general. These problems include mine sampling, inclusion sampling, inclusion measurement, changes in inclusions after trapping, disagreement with other data, genetic affiliation of the deposit, and possible application of the results to exploration.

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