Abstract

Fahlores [~(Cu,Ag)10(Zn,Fe)2Sb4S13] from the Keno Hill mining district, central Yukon, Canada record virtually the entire petrogenetic history of a Cretaceous hydrothermal system extending over 40 km outward from the Mayo Lake granitic pluton. These fahlores are an essential constituent of polymetallic sulphide veins developed in a graphitic Mississippian quartzite, where they occur in association with sphalerite, pyrargyrite, galena and siderite. Fahlores exhibit pronounced east-west zoning in average Ag/(Ag+Cu) and Zn/(Zn+Fe) values, with these simultaneously increasing and decreasing from east to west over 20 km of hydrothermal activity. These zonations are coupled with average Ag/(Ag+Cu) and Zn/(Zn+Fe) values in fahlore roughly paralleling the 300°C isotherm for fahlores in equilibrium with pyrargyrite, miargyrite and sphalerite in the simple system Ag2S-Cu2S-ZnS-FeS-Sb2S3. Early high-Ag, high-Zn fahlores from the eastern and western mines have Ag/(Ag+Cu) and Zn/(Zn+Fe) values requiring temperatures ≥400°C, in agreement with temperatures established from the As-content of arsenopyrite coexisting with pyrite, pyrrhotite and sphalerite. Ag/(Ag+Cu) and Zn/(Zn + Fe) values in later, main-stage fahlores are consistent with the 250–310°C range of temperatures established for boiling of Keno Hill fluids. Finally, Ag- and Fe-rich fahlores were produced by retrograde Fe-Zn exchange with sphalerite or crystallized from late-stage epithermal fluids which produced polybasite, stephanite, acanthite and wire silver. One such fahlore exhibits unmixing into high-Ag and low-Ag varieties. This is the first reported miscibility gap for freibergite fahlores and confirms the earlier prediction of such gaps.

You do not currently have access to this article.