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Mobilisation of deep crustal sulfide melts as a first order control on upper lithospheric metallogeny

Holwell, David A., Fiorentini, Marco L., Knott, Thomas R., McDonald, Iain ORCID:, Blanks, Daryl E., McCuaig, T. Campbell and Gorczyk, Weronika 2022. Mobilisation of deep crustal sulfide melts as a first order control on upper lithospheric metallogeny. Nature Communications 13 (1) , 573. 10.1038/s41467-022-28275-y

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Magmatic arcs are terrestrial environments where lithospheric cycling and recycling of metals and volatiles is enhanced. However, the first-order mechanism permitting the episodic fluxing of these elements from the mantle through to the outer Earth’s spheres has been elusive. To address this knowledge gap, we focus on the textural and minero-chemical characteristics of metal-rich magmatic sulfides hosted in amphibole-olivine-pyroxene cumulates in the lowermost crust. We show that in cumulates that were subject to increasing temperature due to prolonged mafic magmatism, which only occurs episodically during the complex evolution of any magmatic arc, Cu-Au-rich sulfide can exist as liquid while Ni-Fe rich sulfide occurs as a solid phase. This scenario occurs within a ‘Goldilocks’ temperature zone at ~1100–1200 °C, typical of the base of the crust in arcs, which permits episodic fractionation and mobilisation of Cu-Au-rich sulfide liquid into permeable melt networks that may ascend through the lithosphere providing metals for porphyry and epithermal ore deposits.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher: Nature Research
ISSN: 2041-1723
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 10 January 2022
Last Modified: 15 May 2023 17:51

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