Molybdenite Re–Os and albite 40Ar/39Ar dating of Cu–Au–Mo and magnetite porphyry systems in the Yangtze River valley and metallogenic implications
Abstract The area of the Middle–Lower Yangtze River valley, Eastern China, extending from Wuhan (Hubei province) to western Zhenjiang (Jiangsu province), hosts an important belt of Cu–Au–Mo and Fe deposits. There are two styles of mineralization, i.e., skarn/porphyry/stratabound Cu–Au–Mo–(Fe) deposits and magnetite porphyry deposits in several NNE-trending Cretaceous fault-bound volcanic basins. The origin of both deposit systems is much debated. We dated 11 molybdenite samples from five skarn/porphyry Cu–Au–Mo deposits and 5 molybdenite samples from the Datuanshan stratabound Cu–Au–Mo deposit by ICP-MS Re–Os isotope analysis. Nine samples from the same set were additionally analyzed by NTIMS on Re–Os. Results from the two methods are almost identical. The Re–Os model ages of 16 molybdenite samples range from 134.7 ± 2.3 to 143.7 ± 1.6 Ma (2 σ ). The model ages of the five samples from the Datuanshan stratabound deposit vary from 138.0 ± 3.2 to 140.8 ± 2.0 Ma, with a mean of 139.3 ± 2.6 Ma; their isochron age is 139.1 ± 2.7 Ma with an initial Os ratio of 0.7 ± 8.1 (MSWD = 0.29). These data indicate that the porphyry/skarn systems and the stratabound deposits have the same age and suggest an origin within the same metallogenic system. Albite 40 Ar/ 39 Ar dating of the magnetite porphyry deposits indicates that they formed at 123 to 125 Ma, i.e., 10–20 Ma later. Both mineralization styles characterize transitional geodynamic regimes, i.e., the period around 140 Ma when the main NS-trending compressional regime changed to an EW-trending lithospheric extensional regime, and the period of 125–115 Ma of dramatic EW-trending lithospheric extension.