Gold-bearing volcanic breccia complexes related to carboniferous-permian magmatism, North Queensland, Australia

Mujdrica, Stefan (1994) Gold-bearing volcanic breccia complexes related to carboniferous-permian magmatism, North Queensland, Australia. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Gold-bearing volcanic breccia complexes are the major sources of gold in the Tasman Fold Belt System in north Queensland. The Tasman Fold Belt System represents the site of continental accretion as a series of island-arcs and intra-arc basins with accompanying thick sedimentation, volcanism, plutonism, tectonism and mineralisation. In north Queensland, the fold belt system comprises the Hodgkinson-Broken River Fold Belt, Thomson Fold Belt, New England Fold Belt and the Georgetown Inlier. The most numerous ore deposits are associated with calc-alkaline volcanics and granitoid intrusivesof the transitional tectonic stage of the fold belt system. The formation and subsequent gold mineralisation of volcanic breccia complexes are related to Permo-Carboniferous magmatism within the Thomson Fold Belt and Georgetown Inlier. The two most important producing areas are at Mount Leyshon and Kidston mines, which are high tonnage, low-grade gold deposits. The Mount Leyshon breccia complex was emplaced along the contact between CambroOrdovician metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks, and Ordovician-Devonian I-type granitoids of the Lolworth-Ravenswood Block. The Kidston breccia complex is located on a major lithological contact between the Early to Middle Proterozoic . Einasleigh Metamorphics and the Silurian-Devonian Oak River Granodiorite. The principal hosts to the gold mineralisation at the Mount Leyshon and Kidston deposits, are breccia pipes associated with several episodes of porphyry intrusives. The goldbearing magmatic-hydrothermal and phreatomagmatic breccias post-date the development of a porphyry-type protore. The magmatic-hydrothermal breccias were initially emplaced without the involvement of meteoric-hydrothermal fluids, within a closed system. Later magma impulses reached higher levels in the cooled upper magma chamber, where meteoric water invaded the fracture system. This produced an explosive emplacement of phreatomagmatic breccias, as seen at Mount Leyshon. Widespread sericitisation and pyrite mineralisation are common, with cavity fill, disseminated and fracturelveincontrolled gold and base metal sulphides. The Kidston and Mount Leyshon breccia complexes have hydrothermal alteration and mineralisation characteristics of the 'Lowell-Guilbert Model'. However, the argillic zone is generally not well defined. The gold travelled as chloride complexes with the hydrothermal fluids before being deposited into cavities and fractures of the breccias. Later stage epithermal deposits formed at the top of the breccia complexes that were dominantly quartz-adularia-sericite-type. The erosion, collapse and further intrusion of later porphyry phases allowed the upper parts of the breccia complexes to mix with the lower hydrothermal systems. Exploration for gold-related volcanic breccia complexes is directed at identifying hydrothermal alteration. This is followed by detailed ground studies including geological, mineralogical, petrological and geochemical work, with the idea of constructing a 'model' that can be tested with subsequent subsurface work (e.g. drilling). Geomorphology, remote sensing, geochemistry, geophysics, petrology, isotopes and fluid inclusions are recommended exploration techniques for the search of gold-bearing volcanic breccia complexes. Spectral remote sensing has especially become an important tool for the detection of hydrothermal alteration. Clay and iron minerals of the altered rock, within the breccia complexes, have distinctive spectral characteristics that can be recognisable in multispectral images from the Landsat thematic mapper. The best combination of bands, when using TM remote sensing for hydrothermally altered rock, are 3/5/7 or 4/5/7. The breccia complexes have exploration signatures represented as topographic highs, emplaced within major structural weaknesses, associated I-type granitic batholiths, early potassic alteration with overprint of sericitic alteration, and an associated radiometric high and magnetic low. The exploration for gold-bearing volcanic breccia complex deposits cannot be disregarded, because of the numerous occurrences that are now the major gold producers in north Queensland.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Australia, Geology, Gold, Mines, Ores, Mining, Queensland
Subjects:Q Science > QE Geology
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Geology
Supervisors:Moore, John
ID Code:3801
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:24 Oct 2012 09:24
Last Modified:24 Oct 2012 09:24
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