Rare-Earth Element And Heavy-Metal Behaviour Associated With The Epithermal Gold Deposit On Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea

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Journal Article: Rare-Earth Element And Heavy-Metal Behaviour Associated With The Epithermal Gold Deposit On Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea

Abstract
A thick sequence of alkaline intrusions and volcanic rocks underlies a Quaternary caldera on Lihir Island. The sequence is host to a still-active subaerial hydrothermal system and associated epithermal gold mineralization. Chondrite-normalized (La/Lu)cn and (La/Sm)cn ratios progressively increase up the alteration sequence from the potassic alteration zone, to the argillic zone to the advanced argillic zone. (Tb/Lu)cn ratios only significantly increase in argillic and advanced argillic assemblages. Surface oxide alteration lithologies and acid sulphate water precipitates possess distinctly lower (La/Lu)cn and (Tb/Lu)cn ratios than the underlying subsurface alteration units. The changes in the REE, LREE and HREE fractionation trends from subsurface to surface alteration zones reflect the transition from a magmatic-hydrothermal, neutral chloride fluid regime at depth to acid sulphate meteoric waters in the upper portion of the alteration profile. Boiling of the LREE-Eu-enriched magmatic fluids occurred at a depth of at least 750 m. It is proposed that pronounced differential flow rates of the vapour and liquid phases and solution chemistry changes approximately above 300-350 m caused the incorporation of LREE and Eu into anhydrite-calcite veins and the deposition of LREE and HREE into wallrocks of upper parts of the potassic alteration unit. Condensation of the vapour phases into meteoric waters gave rise to low-temperature acid fluids that deposited large amounts of LREE within argillic and advanced argillic alteration units. This was also accompanied by HREE mobility due to large fluid volumes, acid fluid conditions and abundant sulphate complexes within the solutions. The HREE were either lost from the hydrothermal system or deposited in oxide assemblages and acid sulphate water precipitates.

Author 
B. G. Lottermoser








Published Journal 
Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 1990





DOI 
Not Provided
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Citation

B. G. Lottermoser. 1990. Rare-Earth Element And Heavy-Metal Behaviour Associated With The Epithermal Gold Deposit On Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. (!) .