Timing and genesis of base-metal mineralisation in black shales of the Upper Permian Ravnefjeld Formation, Wegener Halvø, East Greenland

Mikael Pedersen, Jesper K. Nielsen, Adrian J. Boyce, Anthony E. Fallick

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10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bituminous mud shales of the Upper Permian Ravnefjeld Formation (Zechstein 1 equivalent) are mineralised with zinc, lead and copper within a ca. 50 km2 area on Wegener Halvø in central East Greenland. The occurrence of base-metal sulphides in shale nodules cemented prior to compaction indicates an early commencement of base-metal mineralisation. In other cases, post-compactional sulphide textures are observed. Homogeneous lead isotope signatures of galena and sphalerite from the shales (206Pb/204Pb: 18.440-18.466; 207Pb/204Pb: 16.554-16.586; 208Pb/204Pb: 38.240-38.326) suggest that all base metals were introduced during a single hydrothermal event. Therefore, post-compactional textures are believed to result from recrystallisation of early diagenetic sulphides during deep burial in the Upper Cretaceous to Tertiary. Lead isotope signatures of galena hosted in Upper Permian carbonate build-ups are relatively heterogeneous compared to those of the shale-hosted sulphides. The observed relations indicate a shared lead source for the two types of mineralisation, but different degrees of homogenisation during mineralisation. This suggests that lead was introduced to the carbonate rocks and black shales during two separate events. δ34S of base-metal sulphides in the Ravnefjeld Formation lie between -12 and -4‰, whereas synsedimentary and early diagenetic pyrite in unmineralised shales in general have δ34S between -47 and -16.5‰. Early diagenetic pyrite in the Wegener Halvø area in general has δ34S 15 to 20‰ higher than the same pyrite morphotype in Triasely in the western part of the basin. This relatively high δ34S can be explained by extensive microbial sulphate reduction within persistent euxinic (super-anoxic) bottom waters under which supply of isotopically light seawater sulphate (and disproportionation of intermediate sulphur compounds) was restricted. The sulphur in the base-metal sulphides is believed to represent sulphide-dominated pore water, enriched in 34S due to preferential removal of 32S by sulphate-reducing bacteria and precipitation of diagenetic pyrite in the near-seafloor environment. We suggest that the sulphide-dominated pore water was trapped in the shale formation prior to introduction of base-metal-bearing fluids through fractures in the underlying carbonates, and that sulphide precipitation took place when the two fluids met. δ34S values of carbonate-hosted base-metal sulphides fall within the same range as the shale-hosted ones. The relationship between barite and sulphides and evidence for pre-mineralisation entrapment of liquid hydrocarbons in the carbonates suggest that the sulphide in this case is derived by in-situ thermochemical sulphate reduction (TSR). Measured fractionation between sulphide and sulphate ranges from 18.5 to 24.4‰, suggesting temperatures of TSR around 70 to 100°C. Vitrinite reflectance measurements in mineralised shale samples are all between 1.7 and 2.0%, except for samples taken close to a Tertiary dyke giving ca. 3.0%. Vitrinite reflectance data are comparable to previously published data from unmineralised shale samples in the area and could not be proven to correlate with the degree of mineralisation. This indicates that any early hydrothermal effect has been over-printed later, probably during deep burial in the Late Cretaceous to Early Tertiary as previously proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-123
Number of pages16
JournalMineralium Deposita
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003

Keywords

  • Anoxia
  • Base metals
  • Diagenetic mineralisation
  • Lead isotopes
  • Sulphur isotopes

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources

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