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Authors: Spieth, Volker
Title: Zechstein Kupferschiefer at Spremberg and related sites : hot hydrothermal origin of the polymetallic Cu-Ag-Au deposit
Other Titles: Zechstein Kupferschiefer in Spremberg und verwandten Standorten : heißer hydrothermaler Ursprung der polymetallischen Cu-Ag-Au-Lagerstätte
Issue Date: 2019 Dissertation xxx, 440
Abstract: Copper-silver-gold-polymetallic (Cd, Hg, Mo, Co, Ni, Cr, V, Sb, U, Cs, Re, Pb, Zn, PGE) rich mineralization is present in the deposits containing Kupferschiefer black shale of the lowermost Zechstein Group of Late Permian (Lopingian) age in central Germany and southwestern Poland. Mineralized areas are near large shear lineaments at the border between the Saxo-Thuringian and Rheno-Hercynian zones. Polymetallic mineralization is contained in and geochemically transgresses the Upper Permian Rotliegend strata: the Weissliegend Sandstone, the Zechstein conglomerate, the Kupferschiefer sensu stricto, the Zechstein dolostone, and the overlying Werra carbonate rocks of the Zechstein Group. Hematitic alteration features of the Rote Fäule type are massively present. The mineralization occurs on a continental scale of more than 750 km in an east-westerly direction from eastern Poland to the Rhön near the Rhine valley in Germany in the so called European Copper Belt. The Spremberg-Graustein-Schleife Kupferschiefer deposit in the Lausitz of southeastern Germany has been newly explored and shows the high-grade metallic features of the typical Kupferschiefer deposits, e.g. in the Mansfeld area of Germany and the Lubin area of Poland. The deep drilling campaign from 2008 to 2010 produced much new sample material that became the basis for this scientific research undertaking, which is the first comprehensive study of its type in decades. The major focus of the study was to establish the nature and occurrence of the mineralization in its stratigraphic and ore depositional environment. The methodology employed was: (1) Geological mapping and sampling in the Spremberg-Graustein-Schleife deposit from the new drilling as well as from the drill repository of the LBGR Geological Survey of Brandenburg. This was also done in addition at the Rhön project, the Sangerhausen-Wettelrode deposit in Germany and the Konrad, Lubin, Polkowiecze-Sierosowiecze and Rudna deposits in Poland. (2) The SGS analytical services in Montreal, Canada, geochemically analyzed more than 800 rock powder samples of the exploration campaign 1956 to 1980 at Spremberg, as well as hundreds of new drill core assays were prepared from the new Spremberg exploration campaign. (3) Optical microscopy of more than 1,350 thin and polished rock sections were reviewed and the most important and significant ones were selected for detailed analysis. (4) Electron-microprobe (EMP) analytics, in which chemical compositions of minerals were determined. Textural relations were documented by back-scattered electron images. X-ray maps were produced to recognize the chemical zonation of minerals. 350 polished and thin sections from drill holes and underground locations were selected and analyzed. 626 measurements were taken of stoichiometric and non-stoichiometric metallic minerals, which resulted in new insights about their hot hydrothermal origin and depositional environment. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) studies with wavelength dispersive X-ray spectroscopy microprobe analyses (WDS) were conducted with the CAMECA SX 50. For the calculation of the mineral formulas and the mineral distribution diagrams, the Mincalc-5-program was used. (5) The Raman spectra were measured with the Horiba XpLora Raman microscope with confocal optics with laser wavelengths of 532 and 638 nm. The research focused on minerals and inclusions that were in the size fraction between 1 and 50 nm. Metallic minerals and hydrocarbon aggregates were identified and their intensity frequencies determined. (6) δ34S isotope analysis was conducted on 55 samples that were specifically selected to represent single sulfide aggregates to demonstrate the multi-phase nature of the mineralization. The mineral concentrates were analyzed with an EA-analyzer to SO2 at a reaction temperature of 1,050 °C. The S-isotopic composition was measured with a NC 2500 connected to a Thermo Quest Delta+XL mass spectrometer. The results confirmed the multi-phase nature of the deposit mineralization and supported the new model of origin. (7) Rock samples in historical and significant museum collections were reviewed and evaluated at the following places: Geological Collection at Universität Tübingen, Mansfeld Museum, Wettelrode Röhrigschacht Museum, German Federal Geological Survey Museum at Potsdam, Freiberg Bergakademie Mineralogical Museum, Polish Geological Museum, Warsaw, and Collection of the Mineralogical Institute of University Cracow, Poland. (8) Research progress was presented and discussed in-house and with national and international researchers at seminars, conferences and through publications. The new research results show that the high-grade, Upper Permian, Zechstein polymetallic deposits indicate strong chemical and paragenetic relationships that lead to a unified genetically linked model related to deep-sourced, hot hydrothermal, rift-related volcanism. Mantle heat during failed, intra-continental rifting of the Pangea supercontinent at the end of the Permian time released vast amounts of the exotic metal-rich, alkali-rich, silica-aluminum-rich, organic-rich, halogen-rich, high-density brines into deep-basement fractures, depositing them above the continental flysch Rotliegend sandstones and conglomerates. Detailed investigations show that the high-grade, exotic metal and hydrocarbon mineralization has a hot hydrothermal origin. These result in a micro-layered deposit that was extruded on the Upper Permian Rotliegend peneplain that may have been covered with a shallow Zechstein sea, which was very hostile to lifeforms, at the time of the Permian Mass Extinction. The mineral assemblies are unusual, often chemically non-stoichiometric and unique in their composition as they contain high-temperature and low-temperature minerals adjacent to each other. The stability fields of the sulfides indicate the temperature ranged between 72 °C and 557 °C and up to 1,120 °C for high digenite. Mineralogical results obtained through microscopy, microprobe, Raman spectroscopy, geochemistry and δ34S isotope analysis in this thesis show that: o The Kupferschiefer deposit type mineralization in its vast majority is somewhat monotonous, as it is made up in Spremberg and the European Copper Belt mainly of chalcocite (Cu2S), digenite (Cu1.75S5), covellite (CuS), bornite (Cu5FeS4), and chalcopyrite (CuFeS2), plus a high hydrocarbon content, which is significant as it occurs over a distance of more than 750 km in length. o Many of the copper minerals are of non-stoichiometric composition and unusual association. Bornite, chalcocite, chalcopyrite and pyrite occur as spherules, immiscible metallic drops in the slurry mud. Bornite of the Kupferschiefer sensu stricto T 1 layer often shows exsolutions of electrum (AuAg) and other solid state exsolutions with chalcopyrite and covellite, indicating pre-mixture in the rising metal-hydrocarbon mud slurry and rapid cooling after extrusion on the sea floor surface. o The microprobe element analysis of sulfide phases that are widespread in natural ores of the Kupferschiefer Cu-Ag deposits plot in a phase field that includes chalcocite, digenite, djurleiite, anilite, yarrowite (“blaubleibender” covellite), klockmannite, and krutaite. Klockmannite (CuSe) and krutaite (CuSe2) have a stability field of about 343 °C and 384 °C and thus document the high hydrothermal nature of the mineral deposition. o The δ34S sulfur stable isotopes are a unique feature to the Kupferschiefer sensu stricto and at Spremberg have a similar composition as those of the copper mineralization of the other deposits of the European Copper Belt. The δ34S sulfur stable isotopes are light to very light with values ranging from -31‰ to -40‰ (permille) in chalcocite-digenite and chalcopyrite samples of the lower Kupferschiefer sensu stricto. Given the high temperature of the sulfide mineralization, these low values cannot be explained by microbial reduction. As it is shown in published diagrams, deep-sourced systems of ultramafic to serpentinitic origin and composition can contribute brines with a similar δ34S sulfur stable isotope composition. o Geochemical major and trace element compositions are anomalous and are much enhanced compared to average global black shale. The Kupferschiefer sensu stricto analysis and geostatistical comparison diagrams demonstrate the interdependence of the base, precious and polymetallic mineralization with the hydrocarbon deposition in the Zechstein rocks. o Geometallurgical analysis of the available operational and scientific data proves the genetic association of the enriched ultrabasic-sourced elements PGE, Co, Ni, Cr, V, Se, Re, Os with the contemporaneously deposited hydrocarbons. o Geological observation and mineralogical analyses demonstrate that the hematitic “Rote Fäule” is a post Zechstein Kupferschiefer, pervasive alteration event. In places, the “Rote Fäule” may have two distinct phases, of which one might have added gold to the system, forming independent new deposits. The advancing “Rote Fäule” front creates a “TZ Transition Zone”, where existing base and precious metals are enriched to a higher grade. o The age of the Zechstein Kupferschiefer deposition is considered to be 252.5 M.y. This might vary slightly along the 750 km of the European Copper Belt. The age dating relies on illite and rhenium-osmium ages. Spremberg samples have been submitted to age dating. The mineralization has a multi-phase history with age dates spreading from 267.7 M.y. to the “Rote Fäule” alteration event date of 244.5 M.y. o Large, deep-reaching, continent-size rifting lineaments are known in the Zechstein mineralized area of the European Copper Belt. These NW-SE lineaments are disrupted by NE-SW faults. This tectonic pattern is common in all Kupferschiefer districts and has been demonstrated with a seismic exploration program at Spremberg. Geological observations and mapping in Sangerhausen-Wettelrode, Spremberg and the Lubin-Rudna district show that: o The Weissliegend sand is an injectite/extrudite, silica slurry of Zechstein age that mostly rests on top of the Permian Rotliegend peneplain and is covered in an undulating manner by Kupferschiefer sensu stricto. o The Weissliegend sands are cut by veins and veinlets of sulfides and hydrocarbon and Kupferschiefer-like black mud rock that may represent the feeder veins of an open, hot hydrothermal vent. o The Weissliegend sand hosts by far the majority in quality and quantity of the Kupferschiefer-type deposit mineable copper resources measured in 100s of million of tons. o These observations resulting in a high-temperature, hydrothermal emplacement model lead in their conclusion to a paradigm change that replaces the “obsolete” syn-sedimentary epigenetic model, with consequences: - future exploration and mine development, - can rely on parameters that are congruent with the scientific knowledge that in many aspects resembles Volcanic Submarine Massive Sulfide deposits, and - will assist in the finding and development of the so far termed(by the USGS) “undiscovered Kupferschiefer resources”. • The new model for the Zechstein Kupferschiefer deposits postulates a high-energy, hot-hydrothermal, extrusive environment not dissimilar to submarine “Black Smoker” and volcanogenic, submarine, metal-brine deposits. The metal-rich fluids ascended through deep-reaching faults and erupted as slurries in low-relief, mud volcanism above fractures in an open, shallow, inland sea. Metal sulfide deposition is systematically accompanied by the precipitation of silica, dolomitic carbonate, and illite, as well as primary copper chlorides, such as atacamite (CuCl2) and other brine minerals, such as anhydrite and sylvite. • The ultimate brine source is interpreted to be serpentinized peridotite in the lower crust near the Moho transition to the mantle. Dehydration of the serpentinite source to talc (steatization) by mantle heat during failed, intra-continental rifting of the Pangaea supercontinent at the end of Permian time released vast amounts of element-laden, high-density brines into deep basement fractures, depositing them above the continental flysch sediment Rotliegend sandstone and conglomerate peneplain in the shallow Kupferschiefer sea, which is analogous to the modern northern Caspian Sea and the Salton Sea of southern California, USA.
Appears in Collections:03 Fakultät Chemie

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