Predictive vs Forensic Mineral Deposit Geology: Viewing Giant Deposits at Appropriate Scale

AUTHORS: David Groves

ABSTRACT: Most ore deposit studies are forensic in nature, concentrating on documentation to provide understanding of the genesis of specific mineral deposits.The results of such studies generally fail to explain why some deposits are giants whereas others are dwarfs, because their deposit-scale parameters and ore-fluid compositions are indistinguishable. Clearly, a more predictive, more regional-scale approach is required to explain why giant deposits are sited in specific locations in particularly prospective provinces or terranes. For many deposit styles, the nature of the sub-continental lithospheric mantle (SCLM), specifically its thickness, buoyancy, composition (including metasomaticalteration), and resultant thermal gradients, dictates whether they form, where they form, and whether they are preserved. Giants form in particularly fertile provinces where there is a superior conjunction of controlling parameters at the province to district scale. Thus, investigations at deposit scale are already at a scale lower than that to resolve the reasons for giantdeposit location. Indeed, giant deposits considered to be of disparate types from forensic studies may be located in corridors along specific, commonly reactivated, lithospheric boundaries, explaining the long-held empirical concept of lineament’s controls on deposit distribution.

KEYWORDS: gold-copper, giant mineral deposit, lithospheric boundaries

EAN: SGA_2009_A001
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