Abstract

We report sensitive high mass resolution ion microprobe, stable isotopes (SHRIMP SI) multiple sulfur isotope analyses (32S, 33S, 34S) to constrain the sources of sulfur in three Archean VMS deposits—Teutonic Bore, Bentley, and Jaguar—from the Teutonic Bore volcanic complex of the Yilgarn Craton, Western Australia, together with sedimentary pyrites from associated black shales and interpillow pyrites. The pyrites from VMS mineralization are dominated by mantle sulfur but include a small amount of slightly negative mass-independent fractionation (MIF) anomalies, whereas sulfur from the pyrites in the sedimentary rocks has pronounced positive MIF, with ∆33S values that lie between 0.19 and 6.20‰ (with one outlier at −1.62‰). The wall rocks to the mineralization include sedimentary rocks that have contributed no detectable positive MIF sulfur to the VMS deposits, which is difficult to reconcile with the leaching model for the formation of these deposits. The sulfur isotope data are best explained by mixing between sulfur derived from a magmatic-hydrothermal fluid and seawater sulfur as represented by the interpillow pyrites. The massive sulfide lens pyrites have a weighted mean ∆33S value of −0.27 ± 0.05‰ (MSWD = 1.6) nearly identical with −0.31 ± 0.08‰ (MSWD = 2.4) for pyrites from the stringer zone, which requires mixing to have occurred below the sea floor. We employed a two-component mixing model to estimate the contribution of seawater sulfur to the total sulfur budget of the two Teutonic Bore volcanic complex VMS deposits. The results are 15 to 18% for both Teutonic Bore and Bentley, much higher than the 3% obtained by Jamieson et al. (2013) for the giant Kidd Creek deposit. Similar calculations, carried out for other Neoarchean VMS deposits give value between 2% and 30%, which are similar to modern hydrothermal VMS deposits. We suggest that multiple sulfur isotope analyses may be used to predict the size of Archean VMS deposits and to provide a vector to ore deposit but further studies are needed to test these suggestions.

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