Sedimentary manganese carbonate deposits, the major economic source of Mn globally, are the product of complex interactions that occur in the marine environment, including both biological Mn(II) oxidation and Mn(IV) reduction. Precise and accurate age constraints for Mn carbonate deposits have been difficult to obtain, hindering the understanding of possible correlations between Mn metallogenic and paleoenvironmental processes at regional to global scale. The involvement of organic matter during Mn carbonate mineralization, however, allows for the Re-Os system, an ideal geochronological tool for determining the depositional or alteration ages of organic-rich rocks, to be applied. Here we present the first Re-Os systematics of Mn carbonate ores from the giant Ortokarnash Mn deposit in the West Kunlun orogenic belt, Xinjiang, China. The use of the Re-Os geochronometer, along with petrographic, whole-rock total organic carbon, and major element analyses, allows for the depositional age and mineralizing processes to be directly constrained. The Mn carbonate ores with relatively homogeneous initial 187Os/188Os values yield a robust mineralization age of 320.3 ± 6.6 Ma (Model 1; Isoplot regression) or 321.8 ± 14.5 Ma (Monte Carlo simulation). This age correlates well with U-Pb ages of the youngest detrital zircon group from the footwall volcanic breccia-bearing limestone and a newly obtained Re-Os age from the hanging-wall marlstones. Enrichment of hydrogenous Re and Os in the Ortokarnash Mn carbonate ores is likely related to the variable redox environments during Mn carbonate mineralization, where Re tends to be preserved in the organic matter that persists following the diagenetic reduction of the Mn(IV) oxyhydroxides in suboxic or anoxic sediment pore water. Conversely, Os was likely absorbed by Mn(IV) oxyhydroxides in oxic seawater during Mn(II) oxidation. Elevated Osinitial(i) for the Mn carbonate ores relative to that of the coeval global seawater value suggests that an increased riverine flux may have been a contributing factor leading to Mn mineralization.

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