Abstract

Better tools are needed to map the thermal structure of ore deposits. Here, carbonate clumped isotope thermometry is applied for the first time in epithermal, skarn, and carbonate-hosted deposits to identify the conditions involved in metal transport and deposition. Clumped isotope temperature calibrations were tested by measurement of carbonates from three geothermal fields in the Taupo volcanic zone, New Zealand, that record growth temperatures between 130° and 310°C. Results for modern Taupo volcanic zone calcites were paired with known fluid δ18O values and these indicate precipitation in equilibrium with produced geothermal waters. Measurements carried out at the Waihi low sulfidation deposit in New Zealand, the Antamina polymetallic skarn in Peru, and the Mount Isa sediment hosted Pb-Zn and Cu deposit in Queensland, Australia, demonstrate that clumped isotope values are sensitive to temperature gradients defined using other methods. At Waihi, an andesite-hosted deposit, temperature controls the majority of variation in carbonate mineral δ18O. At Mount Isa, ~300° to 400°C temperatures were recorded in a 1.5 Ga orebody, which are consistent with fluid inclusion values, highlighting the longevity of clumped isotope archives in dolomite minerals. Collectively, these results demonstrate the potential for clumped isotopes to delineate the heat footprint around deposits that contain carbonates, and to more effectively disentangle magmatic and meteoric fluid δ18O signals.

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