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Platinum-group element geochemistry of the Paraná flood basalts – modelling metallogenesis in rifting continental plume environments

Lindsay, Jordan J., Andersen, Jens C.Ø., Hughes, Hannah S.R., McDonald, Iain ORCID:, Hastie, Alan R., Besser, Marcell L., Licht, Otavio A.B. and Arioli, Edir E. 2021. Platinum-group element geochemistry of the Paraná flood basalts – modelling metallogenesis in rifting continental plume environments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 311 , pp. 74-101. 10.1016/j.gca.2021.07.035

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The 135 Ma Paraná-Etendeka Large Igneous Province (PELIP) is one of the largest areas of continental flood basalt (CFB) volcanism in the world and is widely agreed to be a product of intracontinental melts related to thermal anomalies from the Tristan mantle plume. The province rifted during the break-up of Gondwana, as the plume transitioned into an oceanic geodynamic environment. This study reports analyses of plume-derived basalts from the Brazilian side of the PELIP (the Serra Geral Group) to investigate major, trace and platinum-group element (PGE) abundances in an evolving plume-rift metallogenic setting, with the aim of contextualising metallogenic controls alongside existing magmatic interpretations of the region. The chalcophile geochemistry of these basalts defines three distinct metallogenic groupings that fit with three modern multi-element magma classifications for Serra Geral lavas. In this scheme, Type 4 lavas have a distinctive PGE-poor signature, Type 1 (Central-Northern) lavas are enriched in Pd, Au and Cu, and Type 1 (Southern) lavas are enriched in Ru and Rh. Our trace element melt modelling indicates that the compositional variations result from changes in the melting regime between the garnet and spinel stability fields, in response to the thinning and ‘unlidding’ of the rifting continent above. This process imposes progressively shallower melting depths and higher degrees of partial melting. Accordingly, Type 4 magmas formed from small degree melts, reducing the likelihood of sulphide exhaustion/chalcophile acquisition at source. Type 1 (Central-Northern) magmas incorporated components of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM) in higher-degree partial melts; the SCLM was heterogeneously enriched via metasomatism prior to plume melting, and this produced enrichment in volatile metals (Pd, Cu, and Au) in these magmas. In contrast, the Ru-Rh enrichment in Type 1 (Southern) lavas is attributed to increased spinel-group mineral and sulphide incorporation from the mantle into higher degree partial melts close to the continental rift zone. Our models confirm the importance of contributions from SCLM melts in precious metal mineral systems within CFB provinces, and reinforce the role of heterogeneous metasomatic enrichment underneath cratons in boosting intracontinental prospectivity with respect to ore deposits.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Publisher: Meteoritical Society
ISSN: 0016-7037
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 24 August 2021
Date of Acceptance: 27 July 2021
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 20:10

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