Abstract

Early Cretaceous orogenic gold deposits in eastern Asia are globally unique in that large Phanerozoic lode gold deposits occur in Archean-Paleoproterozoic cratons. In the northern Pacific region, ca. 125 Ma orogenic gold deposits in the North China, Yangzte, and Siberian craton margins, as well as in young terranes in California, may ultimately relate to the giant Cretaceous mantle plume in the southern Pacific basin and the relatively rapid tectonic consequences along both continental margins from resulting Pacific plate reconfigurations. In eastern Asia, such consequences include reactivation of and fluid flow along major fault systems, with fluid focusing into simultaneously forming, isolated core complexes of uncertain genesis. Deposition of gold ores in previously devolatilized high-grade Precambrian metamorphic rocks requires an exotic source of ore fluid, most likely subducted Mesozoic oceanic crust and/or overlying sediment. An implication is that Phanerozoic metamorphic core complexes in other destabilized craton margins could host large gold resources.

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