Abstract

The Rosen copper veins in southeastern Bulgaria are recognized for the first time as an iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) district. The veins are located in the East Srednogorie segment of the Carpathian-Balkan calc-alkaline volcano-plutonic arc and were formed during an end-stage interval of extreme slab rollback and intra-arc rifting, which gave rise farther east to seafloor spreading in the Western Black Sea basin. The resulting submarine volcano-sedimentary rift basin is dominated by intermediate to mafic shoshonitic to ultrapotassic volcanism and subsidiary gabbro to syenite intrusion. The E- to NE-striking veins define a NW-striking alignment along the western contact of the syenite-dominated Rosen pluton, inferred to be part of a large ring dike. More than 40 veins, the most important formerly mined to depths as great as 1,000 m, contain an early, pegmatoidal, calcic-potassic assemblage followed by predominant magnetite (including the mushketovite variety), chlorite, and carbonates but also quartz, chalcopyrite, pyrite, and numerous other metallic minerals, which combine to give an unusual Fe-Cu-Au-Mo-Co-Ni-U-light rare earth element (LREE)-W-Bi-Zn-Pb geochemical signature. The close correlation between Fe, Cu, U, and LREEs is evident even in the flotation tailings. Vein molybdenite was dated during this study at 80.6 ± 0.4 Ma, which is similar to a U-Pb zircon age for monzosyenite from the Rosen pluton. The mineralogic and compositional features of the Rosen district are comparable to those of well-known IOCG deposits worldwide and geometrically similar to the vertically extensive IOCG veins in the Coastal Cordillera province of northern Chile. The subsidiary granitophile signature that accompanies the characteristic siderophile IOCG suite was also recognized recently at the giant Olympic Dam deposit in South Australia and elsewhere. Although no exposed intrusion is definitively implicated in the genesis of the Rosen veins, coexisting gabbro and syenite fluid sources may be hypothesized at depth in or beneath the coeval ring dike.

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