Strata-bound, nonstratiform, epigenetic galena-sphalerite-cement mineralization in Ediacaran-Cambrian sandstone, including the previously mined deposits at Laisvall and Vassbo, occurs along the eastern erosional front of the Caledonian orogen in Sweden. The sandstone is part of an autochthonous siliciclastic sedimentary sequence that rests unconformably on top of Proterozoic crystalline basement beneath the Caledonian thrust nappes.
Linear anomalies have been identified in high-resolution airborne magnetic data that correspond to geologic features in the Proterozoic basement. Furthermore, the Laisvall and Vassbo strata-bound Pb-Zn deposits are both spatially associated with areas of change in the trend of the magnetic lineaments. Magnetic anomalies, trending either N-S to NE-SW and WNW-ESE to NW-SE in the Laisvall area, and NNE-SSW to NNW-SSE and NW-SE to W-E in the Vassbo area, were identified.
In the Laisvall area, some magnetic minima and edges along magnetic gradients can be correlated with faults in the Proterozoic basement. The reactivation of these basement structures is expressed in the Ediacaran-Cambrian sedimentary cover rocks as newly formed faults with Phanerozoic displacement. Along individual faults belonging to two sets (NE-SW to N-S and WNW-ESE to NW-SE), synsedimentary block movement has been recognized. The highest Pb and Zn grades in Laisvall delineate orebodies and orebody trends that follow these faults. Areas where the faults change strike contain some of the largest and richest orebodies.
In the Vassbo area, the orebody footprint reflects a folded dolerite dike in the underlying Proterozoic basement. The dike, modeled on the basis of borehole data, is recognized by a magnetic maximum and an edge along a magnetic gradient. No faults have been mapped at the ground surface as being related to the location of dolerite dikes in the basement. However, it is considered that the basement dikes illustrate a structural control, emplacement either producing a local fracture network or being driven by preexisting basement structures.
The main orebodies in both deposits display funnel-shape geometry, fault-rooted in Laisvall and located close to the hinges of the folded dolerite dike in the basement at Vassbo. Metal distribution patterns are similar in both deposits and are characterized by Pb-rich cores proximal to the basement-steered structures while Zn-rich shells are distal from these structures. The funnel-shaped ore geometry is interpreted to reflect a fault-rooted migration path and the metal precipitation mechanism.
In both deposits, the highest Pb and Zn grades occur at the top of sandstone paleoaquifers. Similar mineralization footprints, variation in grades, and paleoaquifer settings were recognized in several carbonate-hosted Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) Zn-Pb deposits (e.g., San Vicente deposit, Peru; Topla-Mežica deposits, Slovenia). This geometry is suggestive of a sour gas trap that accumulated by density at the top of paleoaquifers. This gas could have provided H2S by thermogenic sulfate reduction to the metal-bearing fluids and triggered precipitation of Pb-Zn sulfides.
The combined evidence from the airborne magnetic data, the structural analysis and the geometry of the orebodies, and metal distribution suggests that the basement faults reactivated during the Ediacaran-Cambrian sedimentation, acted at a later time as feeders for the metal-bearing fluids to fertile horizons for mineralization, and localized deformation during postsedimentary and postmineralization tectonics.