Development of hypogene and supergene alteration and copper mineralization patterns, Sar Cheshmeh porphyry copper deposits, Iran /
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The formation of the Sar Cheshmeh porphyry Cu-Mo deposit is related to the culmination of calc-alkaline igneous activity in the Kerman region. The deposit comprises a suite of Late Cenozoic intrusive sub-volcanic and extrusive rocks emplaced into a folded series of Eocene andesitic lavas and pyroclastic sediments. The earliest stage of magmatism was emplacement of a large granodiorite stock about 29 m.y.b.p. This was followed by intrusion of two separate porphyritic bodies at 15 (Sar Cheshrneh porphyry) and 12 m.y.b.p. (Late porphyry) and a series of sub-volcanic dikes between 12 and 9 m.y.b.p. Magmatic activity terminated with multi-phase extrusion of a Pelean dacitic dome complex between 10 and 2.8 m.y.b.p. The country rocks and the earlier porphyritic intrusions are pervasively altered to biotite-rich potassium silicate (metasomatic and hydrothermal) sericite-clay, phyllic and chlorite-clay, argillic assemblages. These grade outwards to an extensive propylitic zone. Within the ore body, the later intra-. and post-mineral dikes only reach the propylitic grade. At least three different sets of quartz veins are present, including a sericite-chlorite-quartz set which locally retrogrades pervasive secondary biotite to sericite. In the hypogene zone, metasomatic and hydrothermal alteration is related to all stages of magmatism but copper mineralization and veining are restricted to a period of 15 to 9 m.y.b.p.related to the early intrusive phases. The copper mineralization and silicate alteration do not fit a simple annular ring model but have been greatly modified by, 1. The existence of an ititial, outer ring, of metasomatic alteration overprinted by an inner.ring of hydrothermal alteration and, 2. later extensive dilating effects of intra- and post-mineral dikes. The hydrothermal clay mineral assemblage in the hypogene zone is illite-chlorite-kaolinite-smectite (beidellite). Preliminary studies indicate that the amount of each of these clays varies vertically and that hydrothermal zonation of clay minerals is possible. However, these minerals alter to illite-kaolinite assemblages in the supergene sulfide zone and to more kaolinite-rich assemblages in the supergene leached zone. Hydrothermal biotite breaks down readily in the supergene zone and is not well preserved in surface outcrops. The distribution of copper minerals in the supergene sulfide enrichment zone is only partly related to rock type being more dependent on topography and the availability of fractures.