Carbonate Alteration Footprints of Hydrothermal Ore Deposits
Carbonate hosted hydrothermal ore deposits commonly develop narrow mineral alteration (i.e. visible) haloes, complicating exploration targeting. In contrast, hydrothermal modification of the country rock’s stable isotope composition usually extends far beyond visible alteration. Hence, stable isotope “mapping” is an effective tool to aid exploration for carbonate hosted deposits. However, widespread utilization of stable isotope data has been hampered by its high cost and long turn-around times. Researchers at the Mineral Deposit Research Unit (MDRU) have recently developed an analytical instrument (the Mineral Isotope Analyzer, MIA) allowing for rapid and cost-efficient oxygen and carbon isotope analysis. The proposed research will assess how large-scale application of stable isotope analysis can be used to improve targeting in different exploration environments. The acquired data will help to constrain pathways responsible for controlling hydrothermal fluids, thus significantly further the understanding of how carbonate hosted hydrothermal ore deposits form, and can be more effectively targeted during exploration.