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New insights into the genesis of volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits on the seafloor from numerical modeling studies


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Schardt, C and Large, RR 2009 , 'New insights into the genesis of volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposits on the seafloor from numerical modeling studies' , Ore Geology Reviews, vol. 35, no. 3-4 , pp. 333-351 , doi: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2008.11.008.

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Numerical computer simulations have been used to gain insight into the evolution of marine hydrothermal
systems and the formation conditions of massive sulfide deposits in ancient and modern submarine volcanic
terrains. Simulation results have been used to gain a better understanding of the formation of massive sulfide
ore deposits, their location, zonation, size, and occurrence in various geotectonic settings.
Most hydrothermal fluid discharging at the seafloor exhibits temperatures ranging from 200 °C to about
410 °C and average fluid discharge velocities of 1 to 2 m/s in agreement with seafloor observations. Mass
calculations imply that average massive sulfide deposits may form in ~5000 years while giant deposits take
longer than 5000 years to accumulate; supergiant deposits either need much longer time to form
(N35,000 years) or at least 100 ppm of metal in solution. Results indicate that supergiant deposits may only
form in certain geotectonic environments where longevity and preservation potential of the hydrothermal
system are high. An additional process (mineral precipitate cap) is proposed here to explain the zinc content
of massive sulfide deposits. This cap would prevent the widespread dissolution of anhydrite and the ‘washout’
of zinc by subsequent hydrothermal fluid discharge.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Schardt, C and Large, RR
Keywords: VMS, VHMS, fluid flow, numerical models, copper, lead, zinc
Journal or Publication Title: Ore Geology Reviews
ISSN: 0169-1368
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2008.11.008
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