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TitleThe world-class Howard's Pass SEDEX Zn-Pb district, Selwyn basin Yukon. Part II: The roles of thermochemical and bacterial sulfate reduction in metal fixation
AuthorGadd, M GORCID logo; Layton-Matthews, D; Peter, J MORCID logo; Paradis, S; Jonasson, I R
SourceMineralium Deposita vol. 52, issue 3, 2017 p. 405-419, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20150476
PublisherSpringer Nature
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceYukon; British Columbia
AreaHoward's Pass
Lat/Long WENS-140.0000 -123.0000 66.0000 57.0000
Subjectsmineralogy; metallic minerals; general geology; lead zinc deposits; mineralization; host rocks; pyrite; petrographic analyses; sulphur isotope ratios; sphalerite; galena; sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) Zn-Pb deposit
Illustrationslocation maps; tables; photomicrographs; histograms; schematic cross-sections
Released2016 07 15
AbstractThe Howard's Pass district of sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) Zn-Pb deposits is located in Yukon Territory and comprises 14 Zn-Pb deposits that contain an estimated 400.7 Mt of sulfide mineralization grading 4.5 % Zn and 1.5 % Pb. Mineralization is hosted in carbonaceous and calcareous and, to a lesser extent, siliceous mudstones. Pyrite is a minor but ubiquitous mineral in the host rocks stratigraphically above, within, and below mineralization. Petrographic analyses reveal that pyrite has a complex and protracted growth history, preserving multiple generations of pyrite within single grains. Sulfur isotope analysis of paragenetically complex pyrite by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) reveals that sulfur isotope compositions vary with textural zonation. Within the Zn-Pb deposits, framboidal pyrite is the earliest pyrite generation recognized, and this exclusively has negative d34S values (mean=-16.6±4.1(permil); n=55), whereas paragenetically later pyrite and galena possess positive d34S values (mean=29.1±7.5 and 22.4±3.0(permil), n=13 and 13, respectively). Previous studies found that sphalerite and galena mineral separates have exclusively positive d34S values (mean=16.8±3.3 and 12.7±2.8(permil), respectively; Goodfellow and Jonasson 1986). These distinct sulfur isotope values are interpreted to reflect varying contributions of bacterially reduced seawater sulfate (negative; framboidal pyrite) and thermochemically reduced seawater sulfate and/or hydrothermal sulfate (positive; galena, sphalerite, later forms of pyrite). Textural evidence indicates that framboidal pyrite predates galena and sphalerite deposition. Collectively, the in situ and bulk sulfur isotope data are much more complex than d34S values permitted by prevailing genetic models that invoke only biogenically reduced sulfur and coeval deposition of galena, sphalerite, and framboidal pyrite within a euxinic water column, and we present several lines of evidence that argue against this model. Indeed, the new data indicate that much of the base metal sulfide mineralization was emplaced below the sediment-water interface within sulfidic muds under reducing conditions during early diagenesis. Furthermore, thermochemical sulfate reduction provided most of the reduced sulfur within the Zn-Pb deposits.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This paper presents sulfur isotopic data for lead-zinc mineralization of the world-class (in terms of tonnage) SEDEX (sedimentary exhalative) deposits of the Howard's Paass district, Selwyn Basin, Yukon. The data are used to conclusively demonstrate that the current genetic model (precipitation of sulfides in a euxinic water column) is incorrect.

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