Abstract

The Tuwu porphyry Cu deposit is located in the northern segment of the Jueluotage metallogenic belt in Eastern Tianshan, on the southern margin of the Central Asian orogenic belt, Xinjiang, northwest China. Tuwu is hosted by diorite porphyry and tonalite porphyry intrusions, which intruded volcanic rocks of the Carboniferous Qi’eshan Group. Four stages (I-IV) of hydrothermal activity have been identified. Chalcopyrite is the dominant ore mineral and mainly occurs in vein stages II (quartz-chalcopyrite-pyrite ± sericite ± bornite ± enargite veins with phyllic halos) and III (quartz-molybdenite-chalcopyrite ± pyrite ± chlorite ± epidote veins). Re-Os dating of molybdenite samples yielded an isochron age of 335.6 ± 4.1 Ma (2σ, mean square of weighted deviates = 0.15, n = 8).

Silicon, oxygen, and carbon stable isotope compositions of quartz and calcite provide evidence for predominantly magmatic contributions with a late meteoric water component at Tuwu. Chalcopyrite samples from stages I and III record a narrow range of bulk δ34S values between −3.9 and 0.4‰, whereas pyrite samples from stages I to IV show decreasing δ34S values from 1.7 to 0.2‰. Chalcopyrite has 206Pb/204Pb, 207Pb/204Pb, and 208Pb/204Pb ratios similar to those of porphyry intrusions, and Pb isotope data from sulfide samples display a positive trend transecting the growth curves of crustal lead. The ore-forming components (metals and sulfur) were sourced from a mantle-derived magmatic reservoir with some upper crustal components in a subduction-related arc setting.

Plagioclase compositions in the porphyry intrusions are consistent with magmatic H2O contents of ~7 wt %. Copper sulfides in the high-grade phyllic alteration zones at Tuwu are characterized by elevated δ65Cu values consistent with deposits from oxidized and hydrous magmatic-hydrothermal fluids, whereas lower δ65Cu values and low copper grades correspond to the potassic alteration zones. Recognition of copper isotope zonation patterns at Tuwu has potential applications in the exploration of porphyry Cu deposits.

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