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Geological setting of the Guelb Moghrein Fe oxide-Cu-Au-Co mineralization, Akjoujt area, Mauritania
Geological Society of London, Special Publications
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The Guelb Moghrein Fe oxide-Cu-Au-Co deposit is located at the western boundary of the West African craton in NW Mauritania. The wall rocks to the mineralization represent a meta-volcanosedimentary succession typical of Archaean greenstone belts. Two types of meta-volcanic rocks are distinguished: (1) volcanoclastic rocks of rhyodacite-dacite composition (Sainte Barbe volcanic unit), which form the stratigraphic base; (2) tholeiitic andesites-basalts (Akjoujt meta-basalt unit). The trace element signature of both types is characteristic of a volcanic arc setting. A small meta-pelitic division belongs to the Sainte Barbe volcanic unit. A meta-carbonate body, which contains the mineralization, forms a tectonic lens in the Akjoujt meta-basalt unit. It can be defined by the high X(mg) (=36) of Fe-Mg carbonate, the REE pattern and the delta(13)C values of -18 to -17 parts per thousand as a marine precipitate similar to Archaean banded iron formation (BIF). Additionally, small slices of Fe-Mg clinoamphibole-chlorite schist in the meta-carbonate show characteristics of marine shale. This assemblage, therefore, does not represent an alteration product, but represents an iron formation unit deposited on a continental shelf, which probably belongs to the Lembeitih Formation. The hydrothermal mineralization at 2492 Ma was contemporaneous with regional D(2) thrusting of the Sainte Barbe volcanic unit and imbrications of the meta-carbonate in the upper greenschist facies. This resulted in the formation of an ore breccia in the meta-carbonate, which is enriched in Fe, Ni, Co, Cu, Bi, Mo, As and Au. Massive sulphide ore breccia contains up to 20 wt% Cu. The ore fluid was aqueous-carbonic in nature and either changed its composition from a Mg-rich oxidizing to an Fe-rich reducing fluid or the two fluid types mixed at the trap site. All lithologies at Guelb Moghrein were deformed by D(3) thrusting to the east in the lower greenschist facies. The mobility of REE in the retrogressed rocks explains the formation of a second generation of hydrothermal monazite, which was dated at c. 1742 Ma. Archaean rocks of the West African craton extend to the west to Guelb Moghrein. The active continental margin was deformed and mineralized in the Late Archaean-Early Proterozoic and again reactivated in the Mid-Proterozoic and Westphalian, showing that the western boundary of the craton was reactivated several times.
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