The San Albino deposit is an orogenic gold occurrence hosted by a low-angle thrust that is the site of a new open-pit mine in northern Nicaragua. The deposit is hosted in greenschist facies rocks of the Jurassic metasedimentary Neuvo Segovia Formation. The schist was uplifted and exposed during arc accretion and Cretaceous thin-skin deformation, forming the NE-striking Colon fold-and-thrust belt. Deformation included emplacement of the 119 to 113 Ma NE-trending Dipilto batholith into the regionally metamorphosed clastic rocks about 5 km northwest of the San Albino deposit. Mineralization is dominated by three laminated quartz vein systems (i.e., San Albino, Naranjo, Arras) that broadly follow shallowly dipping (approx. 30°) carbonaceous shears roughly concordant to schistosity along the limbs of a doubly plunging antiform. The three main parallel shears are each separated by about 90 m and individually reach a maximum thickness of about 8 m. Maximum thickness of ore zones is where post-ore local folding and reverse motion along the shallow shears has duplicated the laminated low-angle gold-bearing veins (D2 and early D3). Additional gold was added to the veins, with abundant sulfides, during a subsequent brecciation event of the early formed quartz veins that accompanied progressive thrusting (late D3). This predated boudinage of the veins during continued compression and thrust loading (D4); high gold grades are particularly notable along pyrite- and arsenopyrite-bearing stylolites formed during D4 pressure solution. The D2 to D3 gold event is likely coeval with Albian uplift of the Dipilto batholith and with back thrusting in the schist aided by the stress inhomogeneities provided by the igneous complex.

Low-angle thrust-controlled orogenic gold deposits may represent world-class exploration targets because of their large linear footprints, although they are traditionally looked at as less favorable exploration targets relative to gold systems developed more commonly along high-angle reverse faults. Our case study of the San Albino deposit shows that although low-angle deposits are not inherently misoriented for failure like the more common subvertical reverse fault-related deposits, they may be sites of significant pressure buildup due to hydrothermal mineral precipitation during initial water-rock interaction or slight temperature decreases along the low-angle flow path. Resulting fluid cycling may lead to thick laminated vein development, such as seen at San Albino, where especially high-grade zones may be associated with local steepening and/or dilational zones within the broader, low-angle vein-hosting shear system.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.