Abstract

Hydrothermal white mica in the Highland Valley district, British Columbia, is present in high-temperature alteration assemblages in early halo veins and in intermediate-temperature sericitic alteration assemblages in D-type veins. Pale-gray white micas characterize early halo veins in the Valley and Bethsaida zone porphyry Cu-Mo deposits, whereas pale-green white micas form texturally similar vein halos along the margin of the Valley deposit and at the Alwin vein. White micas in the Bethlehem porphyry Cu-Mo deposit form part of a sericitic alteration assemblage associated with D-type veins that overprinted K-silicate–altered rocks. Cation compositions in white micas indicate phengitic compositions trending toward aluminoceladonite. Pale-gray phengitic white micas intergrown with bornite-chalcopyrite-molybdenite contain elevated Na, indicating higher formation temperatures than those that characterize phengitic white micas formed during hydrolytic alteration. Bethlehem phengitic white micas have cation compositions similar to those of pale-green phengitic white micas at the Valley deposit margin, Bethsaida zone margin, and the Alwin vein. The Al-OH absorption wavelengths in pale-gray phengitic white micas are shorter than in pale-green phengitic white mica or phengitic white mica in the sericitic assemblage. In the phengitic white micas, alkali elements substituting in the interlayered site are positively correlated, whereas higher-valence elements substituting into the octahedral site show a greater variability. The data confirms that hydrothermal white-mica chemistry varies between paragenetic stages of a porphyry Cu deposit and between multiple porphyry deposits in a district.

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