Abstract

The Skellefte district in northern Sweden is a ca. 1.9 Ga, extensively mineralized, mainly felsic, submarine volcanic belt. Within the district, the volcanic rocks (Skellefte Group) are overlain by turbiditic sedimentary rocks and coarser clastic rocks, as well as younger, mainly mafic, volcanic rocks (Vargfors Group). To the north, subaerial volcanic rocks of the Arvidsjaur Group are probably coeval with the Vargfors Group. The sedimentation in the Bothnian basin, south of the Skellefte district, appears to have started at ca. 2.0 Ga and continued until ca. 1.86 Ga, as indicated by the presence of granitoids spanning this time interval. The first main magmatic episode in the Skellefte district was a felsic stage at around 1.89 Ga as confirmed by two new U-Pb zircon ages from volcanic rocks situated in the central and eastern part of the district (Bjurvattnet, 1884 + or - 6 Ma; Melestjrn, 1889 + or - 4 Ma). No basement is known to the felsic magmatism, but granitoids occurring to the south of the district, which have been dated at 2.0 to 1.9 Ga, could constitute remnants of a basement which was destroyed by 1.89 Ga arc volcanism within the Skellefte district. The Vargfors Group overlies the Skellefte Group with no major unconformity, and one new age from an ignimbrite in the Vargfors Group (1875 + or - 4 Ma) confirms the temporal relationship with the deposition of subaerial volcanic rocks of the Arvidsjaur Group.An evaluation of age data for the early, synvolcanic (ca. 1890 Ma) Joern-type granitoids suggests that these should be further subdivided. Three different generations of Joern-type granitoids may exist. The GI phase has an age of about 1.89 Ga, the GII and GIII phases within the major Joern batholith probably formed at around 1.87 Ga, and the Siktrsk intrusion in the southern part of the district, has a crystallization age of ca. 1.86 Ga.A number of distinctive isotopic characteristics have been observed, e.g., significant data scatter for Sr whole-rock data, reversely discordant zircon data, and unusually young lower intercept ages for zircon discordia. These features seem to relate preferentially to volcanic rocks, and it is suggested that this behavior is due to Phanerozoic hydrothermal processes that have mobilized elements at different scales. Upper intercepts for zircon discordia, however, are with one exception thought to represent true crystallization ages. The 1847 + or - 3 Ma age for a mass flow at Petiktrsk, as defined by a three-point discordia, is for geologic reasons too young, but a considerably higher 207 Pb/ 206 Pb age at 1890 Ma for one zircon fraction is more consistent with the field relationships.Volcanic-hosted massive sulfide ores occur in the upper part of the volcanic sequence of the Skellefte Group and, in some cases, also in the lower part of the Vargfors Group. A good approximation of the age of massive ore formation is provided by the age of the host rocks. It is suggested that two main depositional stages of massive ore occurred at ca. 1885 to 1880 Ma and at ca. 1875 Ma. Gold occurs in two principal settings, as a constituent in the volcanic-hosted massive sulfide ores, and related to quartz veins found both in intrusive and supracrustal rocks. In the massive ores, gold was probably emplaced in connection with the hydrothermal processes which concentrated the base metals. Gold in some major intrusive-related Au deposits (e.g., Bjoerkdal) is likely to have concentrated at a premetamorphic stage, tentatively at 1.87 Ga, and still other Au ores (e.g., Boliden) may be epithermal in origin and were possibly formed at a relatively late stage at ca. 1.85 Ga. Later, during peak metamorphic conditions, some mesothermal Au-As vein deposits (e.g., Grundfors) formed at ca. 1.84 to 1.82 Ga.

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