Comparative geochemical study of scheelite from the Shizhuyuan and Xianglushan tungsten skarn deposits, South China: Implications for scheelite mineralization
Abstract Scheelite has been analyzed from the Shizhuyuan and the Xianglushan world-class W deposits from the Nanling W–Sn region and Jiangnan W belt, respectively. The Shizhuyuan deposit consists of proximal skarn and greisen W–Sn–Mo–Bi and distal Pb–Zn–Ag veins. The Xianglushan deposit, contains layer-like sulfide–scheelite and skarn W orebodies on granite cupolas overprinted by W greisen veins. Scheelite in skarn ores from the Shizhuyuan contains higher concentrations of Mo than those in the sulfide–scheelite and skarn ores from the Xianglushan deposit, reflecting differences between oxidizing and reducing magmatic-hydrothermal fluids. Under oxidizing conditions, W is accompanied by Mo partitions into exsolved fluids to form W–Mo garnet skarns, whereas under reducing conditions, little Mo is carried by exsolved fluids to form W pyroxene skarns. Trace element patterns of scheelite from both deposits show negative Ba, Sr, Zr, and Ti, and positive Ta anomalies. Rare earth element (REE) patterns of scheelite within skarns from the Shizhuyuan deposit have negatively inclined and flat M-type tetrad patterns, and scheelite from the greisens displays flat and positively inclined M-type tetrad patterns. We infer that the fluids formed scheelite within the W skarns and greisens inherited parental magma trace element and REE characteristics (depleted Ba, Sr, Zr, and Ti, enriched Ta, negative Eu anomalies, and tetrad effects). Whereas, scheelite from sulfide–scheelite veins and skarns of the Xianglushan deposit also has W- and MW-type tetrad REE patterns. The W-type tetrad REE patterns are complementary to REE patterns from the Renjiashan granite, and the MW-type tetrad REE patterns occur during a single evolutionary stage within a complex hydrothermal environment. Sulfide mineralization can form after or before W skarns (the former like Shizhuyuan deposit and the latter like Xianglushan deposit). The formation conditions of the latter included reducing conditions and sulfide firstly supersaturated in the melt, resulting in sulfide drops which carried W aggregated on the cupolas. W skarns and greisens in both deposits underwent generally successive processes related to water supersaturation in the melt. Following a temperature decrease and crystallization, bubbles carried material changing from Si and metal to Si oxide complexes.