The Duotoushan deposit is an important Fe–Cu deposit in the Aqishan–Yamansu metallogenic belt of eastern Tianshan, NW China. Magnetite occurs in two main habits which are common in many Fe–Cu deposits, i.e. platy (TD1 Mag) and granular magnetite (TD2 Mag) have been identified at Duotoushan. Platy magnetite shows two different zones (bright and dark) based on the observations by scanning electron microscopy. The bright part (TD1-L) is the main part of TD1 magnetite and lacks inclusions. The dark part (TD1-D) is very porous and has abundant tiny silicate inclusions. Granular magnetite is usually anhedral with obvious oscillatory zoning in back-scattered electron images. In general, the dark zones of magnetite are characterised by greater Si, Ca, Al and lesser Fe contents than the bright zones. In situ X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis shows that the lattice parameter of TD1 magnetite is approximately equal to that of standard magnetite and slightly higher than that of TD2 magnetite, indicating that some cations with ionic radii smaller than those of Fe2+ or Fe3+ entered the magnetite lattice by simple or coupled substitution mechanisms in TD2 magnetite.

The results in the present study show that the effects of temperature and forumla$f_{{\rm O}_ 2}$ on platy magnetite are very limited and the changing fluid composition might be the major controlling factor for the formation of Duotoushan platy magnetite. Although the possibility that mushketovite transformed from hematite cannot be excluded entirely, evidence from in situ XRD data, pore-volume ratio calculation and the growth habit of intergrown minerals indicates that platy magnetite (TD1) coexisting with amphibole was more likely to have been precipitated originally from hydrothermal fluid. This was then affected by changes in the fluid composition which consequently led to dissolution of primary magnetite (TD1-L) and re-precipitation of TD1-D magnetite (with abundant porosity and mineral inclusions). Meanwhile, granular magnetite (TD2) with oscillatory zoning, and coexisting with epidote and quartz, was precipitated from fluid with periodic variation in temperature. These oscillatory zones are characterised by bands enriched in Si, Al and Ca alternating with bands depleted in these elements. The present investigation revealed a complex evolutionary process for magnetite formation in the Duotoushan deposit. The importance of combined investigation of texture and compositional characterisation of magnetite for study of the ore genesis and evolution of Fe–Cu deposits is highlighted.

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