Abstract

Isotope dilution with a modified alkali fusion procedure and negative thermal ion mass spectrometry yields highly precise and accurate Re-Os ages for molybdenite from two well-studied molybdenite deposits in the East Qinling molybdenum belt, China. Individual Re-Os ages carry a 2Sigma precision of + or - 0.40 to 0.57 percent which includes a 0.31 percent uncertainty in the 187 Re decay constant. For the unusual carbonatite-hosted Mo-Pb deposit at Huanglongpu, the weighted average of seven analyses yields an age of 221.5 + or - 0.3 (0.15%) Ma. The weighted average of two analyses of molybdenite from a porphyry Mo deposit at Jinduicheng, about 10 km to the southwest, yields an age of 138.4 + or - 0.5 (0.39%) Ma. These data provide uncertainties an order of magnitude less than previous Re-Os ages. Molybdenite Re-Os ages are slightly older than ages obtained by other isotopic methods for genetically related host-rock and vein material. It appears that the direct dating of sulfide, rather than altered host and vein material, may be critical to acquiring the correct age for mineralization.The East Qinling molybdenum belt is part of a larger east-west-trending zone that marks the suture between two major cratonic blocks. Consequently, the belt was a site for Early-Middle Triassic compression (Indosinian orogeny) followed by Jurassic-Cretaceous extension (Yenshanian orogeny). We suggest that the Huanglongpu and Jinduicheng deposits provide an analogue for processes that may have been important in generating major molybdenum deposits in the Colorado mineral belt. In Colorado, Late Cretaceous (Laramide) compression-related, alkalic magmatism was followed by Tertiary (Rio Grande) extension-related, granitic magmatism and the development of major Climax-type porphyry Mo deposits. In particular, the Jinduicheng deposit appears to be a nearly perfect match for Climax-type mineralization in Colorado. In contrast, the older Huanglongpu deposit may record a mechanism whereby molybdenum is concentrated in the lower crust. In both the Qinling molybdenum belt and the Colorado mineral belt, a time gap of about 50 to 80 m.y. separates alkalic magmatism and exceptionally evolved granitic magmatism.

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