AUTHORS: Suzanne O'Reilly, William Griffin, Ming Zhang, Elena Belousova, Norman Pearson, Graham Begg, Jon Hronsky
Our view of the Earth is changing dramatically with the rapid development of planetary- and lithosphere-scale seismic tomography at increasingly higher resolution. We now have access to geochemical (including isotopic) data for a large proportion of the elements in the periodic table, at very low levels in bulk rocks and in tiny volumes of individual minerals (by laser sampling). These recent advances, along with unparalleled imaging of microstructures, access to enormous databanks for tectonic syntheses, and robust geodynamic modelling using realistic geological constraints, make this an exciting time for new concepts in Earth (and crustal) evolution and processes, and new concepts to drive global exploration targeting at the lithospheric scale. Delineation of trans-lithospheric structures and discontinuities and deep lithosphere domains with fundamentally different composition, architecture and evolution is providing a new framework for exploration. This enhances understanding and prediction of the location of ore deposits formed by deep lithospheric processes including magmatic and fluid flow (and associated thermal transfer), deep crustal reworking and partial melting. Relevant resources include Ni-PGE, Cu, Au and diamonds; these methods also reveal important parameters about basin formation that are potentially important for oil and gas occurrence.
KEYWORDS: Global lithospheric domains: a multidimensional framework to enhance mineral exploration targeting
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