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Cracking mechanisms during galena mineralization in a sandstone-hosted lead-zinc ore deposit; case study of the Jinding giant sulfide deposit, Yunnan, SW China

, : Cracking mechanisms during galena mineralization in a sandstone-hosted lead-zinc ore deposit; case study of the Jinding giant sulfide deposit, Yunnan, SW China. Mineralium Deposita 45.6

There are two types of lead-zinc ore bodies, i.e., sandstone-hosted ores (SHO) and limestone-hosted ores (LHO), in the Jinding giant sulfide deposit, Yunnan, SW China. Structural analysis suggests that thrust faults and dome structures are the major structural elements controlling lead-zinc mineralization. The two types of ore bodies are preserved in two thrust sheets in a three-layered structural profile in the framework of the Jinding dome structure. The SHO forms the cap of the dome and LHO bodies are concentrated beneath the SHO cap in the central part of the dome. Quartz, feldspar and calcite, and sphalerite, pyrite, and galena are the dominant mineral components in the sandstone-hosted lead-zinc ores. Quartz and feldspar occur as detrital clasts and are cemented by diagenetic calcite and epigenetic sulfides. The sulfide paragenetic sequence during SHO mineralization is from early pyrite to galena and late sphalerite. Galena occurs mostly in two types of cracks, i.e., crescent-style grain boundary cracks along quartz-pyrite, or rarely along pyrite-pyrite boundaries, and intragranular radial cracks in early pyrite grains surrounding quartz clasts. The radial cracks are more or less perpendicular to the quartz-pyrite grain boundaries and do not show any overall (whole rock) orientation pattern. Their distribution, morphological characteristics, and geometrical relationships with quartz and pyrite grains suggest the predominant role of grain-scale cracking. Thermal expansion cracking is one of the most important mechanisms for the generation of open spaces during galena mineralization. Cracking due to heating or cooling by infiltrating fluids resulted from upwelling fluid phases through fluid passes connecting the SHO and LHO bodies, provided significant spaces for crystallization of galena. The differences in coefficients of thermal expansion between pyrite and quartz led to a difference in volume changes between quartz grains and pyrite grains surrounding them and contributed to cracking of the pyrite grains when temperature changed. Combined thermal expansion and elastic mismatch due to heating and subsequent cooling resulted in the radial and crescent cracking in the pyrite grains and along the quartz-pyrite grain boundaries. Copyright 2010 Springer-Verlag


DOI: 10.1007/s00126-010-0294-7

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