Geochemistry of Tourmaline from the Laodou Gold Deposit in the West Qinling Orogen, Central China: Implications for the Ore-Forming Process
School of Earth Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
Engineering Technology Innovation Center of Mineral Resources Explorations in Bedrock Zones, Ministry of Natural Resources, Guiyang 550081, China
Yifu Museum, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2020, 10(8), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10080647
Received: 26 June 2020 / Revised: 19 July 2020 / Accepted: 20 July 2020 / Published: 22 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mineralogy of Noble Metals and “Invisible” Speciations of These Elements in Natural Systems, Volume II)
The Laodou gold deposit, located in the West Qinling Orogen of central China, is a newly recognized intrusion-related gold deposit. It consists of auriferous quartz-sulfide-tourmaline and minor quartz-stibnite veins that are structurally controlled by fault zones transecting the host quartz diorite porphyry. Two types of tourmaline were identified in this study: Type 1 tourmaline occurs as quartz-tourmaline nodules within the quartz diorite porphyry, whereas type 2 tourmaline occurs as quartz-sulfide-tourmaline veins in auriferous lodes. Here, we present a major and trace element analysis by electron microprobe and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry on these two types of tourmaline. Both tourmaline types fall into the alkali group, and are classified under the schorl-dravite solid solution series. The substitutions of FeMg–1, FeAl–1, AlO((Fe, Mg)(OH)) –1, and X-site vacancyCa–1 are inferred by the variations of their major element compositions. Field and mineralogy observations suggest that type 1 tourmaline is a product of the late crystallization process of the quartz diorite porphyry, whereas type 2 tourmaline coexists with Au-bearing arsenopyrite and is crystallized from the ore-forming fluids. Their rare earth element compositions record the related magmatic hydrothermal evolution. The Co and Ni concentrations of the coexisting type 2 tourmaline and arsenopyrite define a regression line (correlation coefficient = 0.93) with an angular coefficient of 0.66, which represents the Co/Ni ratio of the tourmaline and arsenopyrite-precipitating fluids. This value is close to the Co/Ni ratios of the host quartz diorite porphyry, indicating a magma origin of the ore-forming fluids. The substitution of Al3+ by Fe3+ in both tourmaline types shows that type 1 tourmaline approaches the end member of povondraite whereas type 2 tourmaline occurs in opposite plots near the end member of Oxy-dravite, reflecting a more oxidizing environment for type 2 tourmaline formation. Moreover, the redox-sensitive V and Cr values of type 2 tourmaline are commonly 1–2 orders of magnitude higher than those of type 1 tourmaline, which also suggests that type 2 tourmaline forms from more oxidizing fluids. Combined with gold occurrence and fluid properties, we propose that the increasing of oxygen fugacity in the ore-forming fluids is a trigger of gold precipitation.