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Metal transport and ore deposition: Quantitative modelling of magmatic-hydrothermal systems

English title Metal transport and ore deposition: Quantitative modelling of magmatic-hydrothermal systems
Applicant Heinrich Christoph
Number 116693
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Geochemie und Petrologie ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Geochemistry
Start/End 01.04.2007 - 31.03.2009
Approved amount 527'070.00
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Keywords (22)

mineral recources; geochemistry; magmatic hydrothermal systems; laser-ablation; ICP-MS; fluid inclusions; Mineral resources; LA-MC-ICPMS; hydrodynamics; finite-element simulation; isotope analysis; geochronology; Romania; Bulgaria; SCOPES; magma; hydrothermal; fluid-inclusions; isotope; Serbia; mid-ocean ridges; LA-ICPMS

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
This ongoing project investigates the geological processes leading to the formation of natural ore deposits, our source of technically essential elements including Cu, Mo, Pb, Zn and Au and other rare metals. The general principle of the geological process, and our combined approaches to investigate it quantitatively, are explained in the description of the precursor project (see SNF Project 200020-107955).
In the current funding period we specifically investigate the following research questions:
- What is the geological history of magmatism and magmatic-hydrothermal activity in the Upper Cretaceous (100-65 Ma) period in Serbia and Bulgaria? What does this tell us about the Andean-type continental margin of Europe at that time, which gave rise to the most important magmatic-hydrothermal Cu, Mo and Au deposits in Europe. This question is addressed by geological field work, geochemical and high-precision geochronological studies in collaboration with colleagues in these countries (see concurrent SCOPES project nr. IB7320-111130) and the informal European GEODE network.
- What is the chemical composition of hydrothermal fluids transporting ore-forming components from magma chambers to overlying Cu, Mo and Au deposits? After developing the most sensitive technique for analysing ore metals in microscopic fluid inclusions by Laser-Ablation ICPMS, we are currently extending our analytical capabilities to measure lead istope ratios and sulphur concentrations in such microscopic samples, and will apply the new techniques to selected deposits in Romania, Bulgaria and the USA.
- What are the physical processes that control the focussing and cooling of magmatic fluids to make high-grade ore deposits? Ore-forming fluids are salty, and due to their high salinity can separate into a highly saline liquid and a lower-density vapour at conditions well above the critical point of water. Such phase separation is able to segregate different chemical elements on the large scale, which is likely to lead to chemically distict ore deposit types. We are therefore developing modelling software to numerically simulate the flow of two chemically and physically interacting fluid phases during their passage through fractured rocks. This is a key to explain the natural variation of salinity of black-smoker fluids on the ocean floor, but also to the formation of giant Cu-Mo and Au-Ag deposits on land.
A total of six PhD students partly overlap in this funding period, so that essential expertise can be handed on in geochronology, laser-analysis and numerical modelling.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124906 Quantitative Modeling of Ore-Forming Hydrothermal Systems 01.04.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
107955 Metal transport and ore deposition: Quantitative modelling of magmatic-hydrothermal systems 01.04.2005 Project funding (Div. I-III)
156244 Neoproterozoic-Cambrian geodynamic history of the Anti-Atlas (Morocco) and implications for the European Alpine basement 01.10.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)
143778 Causes and time scales of fluid release from magma chambers related to ore-forming magmatic-hydrothermal systems, II. 01.12.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
125307 Causes and time scales of fluid release from magma chambers related to ore-forming magmatic-hydrothermal systems 01.12.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)

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