The giant Pulang porphyry Cu-Au district (446.8 Mt at 0.52% Cu and 0.18 g/t Au) is located in the Yidun arc, eastern Tibet. The district is hosted in an intrusive complex comprising, in order of emplacement, premineralization fine-grained quartz diorite and coarse-grained quartz diorite, intermineralization quartz monzonite, and late-mineralization diorite porphyry, which were all emplaced at ca. 216 ± 2 Ma. Mafic magmatic enclaves are found in both the coarse-grained quartz diorite and quartz monzonite. The well-preserved primary mineral crystals in such a systematic magma series (including contemporaneous relatively mafic intrusions) with well-defined timing provide an excellent opportunity to investigate upper crustal magma reservoir processes, particularly to test the role of mafic magma recharge in porphyry Cu formation.
Two groups of amphibole crystals, with different aluminum contents, are observed in these four rocks. Low-Al amphibole crystals (Аl2О3 = 6.2–7.6 wt %) with crystallization temperatures of ~780°C mainly occur in the coarse-grained quartz diorite and quartz monzonite, whereas high-Al amphibole crystals (Al2O3 = 8.0–13.3 wt %) with crystallization temperatures of ~900°C mainly occur in the fine-grained quartz diorite and diorite porphyry. These characteristics, together with detailed petrographic observations and mineral chemistry studies, indicate that the coarse-grained quartz diorite and quartz monzonite probably formed by crystal fractionation in the same felsic magma reservoir, whereas the fine-grained quartz diorite and diorite porphyry formed from relatively mafic magmas sourced from different magma reservoirs.
The occurrence of mafic magmatic enclaves, disequilibrium phenocryst textures, and cumulate clots indicates that the coarse-grained quartz diorite and quartz monzonite evolved in an open crustal magma storage system through a combination of crystal fractionation and repeated mafic magma recharge. Mixing with incoming batches of hotter mafic magma is indicated by the appearance of abundant microtextures, such as reverse zoning (Na andesine core with Ca-rich andesine or labradorite rim overgrowth), sharp zoning (Ca-rich andesine or labradorite core with abrupt rimward anorthite decrease) and patchy core (Ca-rich andesine or labradorite and Na andesine patches) textured plagioclase, zoned amphibole, high-Al amphibole clots, skeletal biotite, and quartz ocelli (mantled quartz xenocrysts).
Using available partitioning models for apatite crystals from the coarse-grained quartz diorite, quartz monzonite, and diorite porphyry, we estimated absolute magmatic S contents to be 20–100, 25–130, and >650 ppm, respectively. Estimates of absolute magmatic Cl contents for these three rocks are 1,000 ± 600, 1,800 ± 1,100, and 1,300 ± 1,000 ppm, respectively. The slight increase in both magmatic S and Cl contents from the premineralization coarse-grained quartz diorite magma to intermineralization quartz monzonite magma was probably due to repeated recharge of the relatively mafic diorite porphyry magma with higher S but similar Cl contents. Mass balance constraints on Cu, S, and Cl were used to estimate the minimum volume of magma required to form the Pulang porphyry Cu-Au deposit. Magma volume calculated using Cu mass balance constraints implies that a minimum of 21–36 km3 (median of 27 km3) of magma was required to provide the total of 2.3 Mt of Cu at Pulang. This magma volume can explain the Cl endowment of the deposit but is unlikely to supply the sulfur required. Recharge of 5–11 km3 of diorite porphyry magma to the felsic magma reservoir is adequate to account for the additional 6.5–15 Mt of S required at Pulang. Repeated diorite porphyry magma recharge may have supplied significant amounts of S and some Cl and rejuvenated the porphyry system, thus aiding formation of the large, long-lived magma reservoir that produced the porphyry Cu-Au deposit at Pulang.