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Quantitative Modeling of Ore-Forming Hydrothermal Systems

English title Quantitative Modeling of Ore-Forming Hydrothermal Systems
Applicant Heinrich Christoph
Number 135302
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 01.04.2011 - 31.03.2013
Approved amount 571'827.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Geochemistry
Geochronology
Other disciplines of Earth Sciences

Keywords (15)

mineral resources; geochemistry; magmatic hydrothermal systems; laser-ablation; ICPMS; fluid inclusions; LA-MC-ICPMS; hydrodynamics; finite-element simulation; isotope analysis; geochronology; Romania; Bulgaria; Serbia; SCOPES

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

This project investigates the geological processes that lead to the formation of primary resources of industrial metals such as copper, lead, zinc, molybdenum or gold in the Earth’s interior. Several PhD students funded by this project cooperate to understand why some metals are selectively enriched in certain small areas of the earth's crust, in 100- to 10'000-fold higher concentration compared to normal rocks, and why this occurred only in some locations and at certain periods in the evolution of our planet. Understanding the formation of mineral resource is the foundation for discovering new deposits, which is essential for Switzerland as well as global technical development. Our research also trains students to acquire the geological understanding they need to work successfully and responsibly with the international resource industry. Collaboration with colleagues from resource-rich but economically less-developed countries contributes to mutual awareness of technical and cultural needs in different societies.

Ore formation involves chemical dissolution of trace metals by water-rich fluids or magmatic melts, followed by concentrated re-deposition of metallic minerals in selected areas of the earth's crust. Our research starts with geological observations and sampling in the field, commonly in regions with known mineral occurrences. Samples are then analysed in the laboratory by different methods. Micro-analysis of tiny relicts of ore-forming solutions enclosed inside minerals is a techniques that was developed by our group at ETH Zurich and is now used worldwide. With isotopic analyses of minerals containing radioactive elements we can determine when an ore vein formed, or how long it took for a magma to crystallise. The different field- and lab-based results are linked by computer simulations of the overall process to predict, for example, the flow directions of ore-mineralising fluids beneath a volcano. The same models can also be applied to study the circulation of seawater through mid-ocean ridges, which is fundamental for heat transfer from the Earth’s interior and its influence on the composition of the ocean and the ultimately subducted oceanic crust.

 Technical details about this research and about training in resource geology can be found at www.geopetro.ethz.ch/research/orefluids. Zurich's new Earth Science Information and Exhibition center, focusTerra, includes an attractive display about mineral resources, which explains some results from this research in readily understandable form (www.focusterra.ethz.ch).

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Diversity of copper and gold deposits in the Eastern Europe Balkan, Carpathian and Rhodopean belts: tectonic, magmatic and geochronological investigations
Von Quadt A., Serafimovski T., Peytcheva I., Cvetkovic V. (2013), Diversity of copper and gold deposits in the Eastern Europe Balkan, Carpathian and Rhodopean belts: tectonic, magmatic and geochronological investigations, in Edited Abstract Volume and Field Guide, ETH Zurich, ZürichEdited Abstract Volume and Field Guide, ETH Zurich, Zürich.
Magmatic evolution of the Buchim - Damjan - Borov Dol ore district, Macedonia
Barcikowski J., Lehmann S. (2013), Magmatic evolution of the Buchim - Damjan - Borov Dol ore district, Macedonia, ETH, Zürich.
Selective copper diffusion into quartz-hosted vapor inclusions: Evidence from other host minerals, driving forces, and consequences for Cu-Au ore formation
Seo Jung Hun, Heinrich Christoph A. (2013), Selective copper diffusion into quartz-hosted vapor inclusions: Evidence from other host minerals, driving forces, and consequences for Cu-Au ore formation, in Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 113, 60-69.
The Maritsa strike-slip shear zone between Kostenets and Krichim towns, South Bulgaria — Structural, petrographic and isotope geochronology study
Naydenov Kalin, Peytcheva Irena, von Quadt Albrecht, Sarov Stoyan, Kolcheva Krastina, Dimov Dimo (2013), The Maritsa strike-slip shear zone between Kostenets and Krichim towns, South Bulgaria — Structural, petrographic and isotope geochronology study, in Tectonophysics, 595-596, 69-89.
Post-Orogenic Extension and Hydrothermal Ore Formation: High-Precision Geochronology of the Central Rhodopian Metamorphic Core Complex (Bulgaria-Greece)
Kaiser Rohrmeier M., von Quadt A., Driesner T., Heinrich C. A., Handler R., Ovtcharova M., Ivanov Z., Petrov P., Sarov St., Peytcheva I. (2013), Post-Orogenic Extension and Hydrothermal Ore Formation: High-Precision Geochronology of the Central Rhodopian Metamorphic Core Complex (Bulgaria-Greece), in Economic Geology, 108(4), 691-718.
Source Plutons Driving Porphyry Copper Ore Formation: Combining Geomagnetic Data, Thermal Constraints, and Chemical Mass Balance to Quantify the Magma Chamber Beneath the Bingham Canyon Deposit
Steinberger I., Hinks D., Driesner T., Heinrich C.A. (2013), Source Plutons Driving Porphyry Copper Ore Formation: Combining Geomagnetic Data, Thermal Constraints, and Chemical Mass Balance to Quantify the Magma Chamber Beneath the Bingham Canyon Deposit, in Economic Geology, 108(4), 605-624.
Tethyan mantle metasomatism creates subduction geochemical signatures in non-arc Cu-Au-Te mineralizing magmas, Apuseni Mountains (Romania)
Harris Caroline R., Pettke T., Heinrich C. A., Rosu E., Woodland S., Fry B. (2013), Tethyan mantle metasomatism creates subduction geochemical signatures in non-arc Cu-Au-Te mineralizing magmas, Apuseni Mountains (Romania), in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 366, 122-136.
Adakite-like and Normal Arc Magmas: Distinct Fractionation Paths in the East Serbian Segment of the Balkan-Carpathian Arc
Kolb M., Von Quadt A., Peytcheva I., Heinrich C. A., Fowler S. J., Cvetkovic V. (2013), Adakite-like and Normal Arc Magmas: Distinct Fractionation Paths in the East Serbian Segment of the Balkan-Carpathian Arc, in Journal of Petrology, 54(3), 421-451.
Evolution of unconformity-related Mn - Fe - As vein mineralization, Sailauf (Germany): Insight from major and trace elements in oxide and carbonate minerals
Fusswinkel T., Wagner T., Wenzel T., Walle M., Lorenz J. (2013), Evolution of unconformity-related Mn - Fe - As vein mineralization, Sailauf (Germany): Insight from major and trace elements in oxide and carbonate minerals, in Ore Geology Reviews, 50, 28-51.
GEM-Selektor geochemical modeling package: revised algorithm and GEMS3K numerical kernel for coupled simulation codes
Kulik D. A., Wagner T., Dmytrieva S. V., Kosakowski G., Hingerl F. F., Chudnenko K. V., Berner U. R. (2013), GEM-Selektor geochemical modeling package: revised algorithm and GEMS3K numerical kernel for coupled simulation codes, in Computational Geosciences, 17(1), 1-24.
Porphyry-copper ore shells form at stable pressure-temperature fronts within dynamic fluid plumes
Weis P., Driesner T., Heinrich C. A. (2012), Porphyry-copper ore shells form at stable pressure-temperature fronts within dynamic fluid plumes, in Science, 338(6114), 1613-1616.
Accurate and precise quantification of major and trace element compositions of calcic-sodic fluid inclusions by combined microthermometry and LA-ICPMS analysis
Schlegel T. U., Walle M., Steele-MacInnis M., Heinrich C. A. (2012), Accurate and precise quantification of major and trace element compositions of calcic-sodic fluid inclusions by combined microthermometry and LA-ICPMS analysis, in Chemical Geology, 334, 144-153.
Fluid-Flow Patterns at Brothers Volcano, Southern Kermadec Arc: Insights from Geologically Constrained Numerical Simulations
Gruen G., Weis P., Driesner T., de Ronde C. E. J., Heinrich C. A. (2012), Fluid-Flow Patterns at Brothers Volcano, Southern Kermadec Arc: Insights from Geologically Constrained Numerical Simulations, in Economic Geology, 107(8), 1595-1611.
Quantitative constraints for the Bingham Canyon ore-forming system, Diss ETH No. 20433, ETH Zurich
Steinberger I. (2012), Quantitative constraints for the Bingham Canyon ore-forming system, Diss ETH No. 20433, ETH Zurich, ETH, Zurich.
Time evolution of a rifted continental arc: Integrated ID-TIMS and LA-ICPMS study of magmatic zircons from the Eastern Srednogorie, Bulgaria
Georgiev S., von Quadt A., Heinrich C. A., Peytcheva I., Marchev P. (2012), Time evolution of a rifted continental arc: Integrated ID-TIMS and LA-ICPMS study of magmatic zircons from the Eastern Srednogorie, Bulgaria, in Lithos, 154, 53-67.
GEM-SELEKTOR Geochemical Modeling Package: TSolMod library and data interface for multicomponent phase models
Wagner T., Kulik D. A., Hingerl F. F., Dmytrieva S. V. (2012), GEM-SELEKTOR Geochemical Modeling Package: TSolMod library and data interface for multicomponent phase models, in Canadian Mineralogist, 50(5), 1173-1195.
Gold and copper in volatile saturated mafic to intermediate magmas: Solubilities, partitioning, and implications for ore deposit formation
Zajacz Z., Candela P. A., Piccoli P. M., Walle M., Sanchez-Valle C. (2012), Gold and copper in volatile saturated mafic to intermediate magmas: Solubilities, partitioning, and implications for ore deposit formation, in Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 91, 140-159.
Evidence for a "Cadomian" ophiolite and magmatic-arc complex in SW Bulgaria
Kounov A., Graf J., von Quadt A., Bernoulli D., Burg J. P., Seward D., Ivanov Z., Fanning M. (2012), Evidence for a "Cadomian" ophiolite and magmatic-arc complex in SW Bulgaria, in Precambrian Research, 212, 275-295.
Separation of Molybdenum and Copper in Porphyry Deposits: The Roles of Sulfur, Redox, and pH in Ore Mineral Deposition at Bingham Canyon
Seo J. H., Guillong M., Heinrich C. A. (2012), Separation of Molybdenum and Copper in Porphyry Deposits: The Roles of Sulfur, Redox, and pH in Ore Mineral Deposition at Bingham Canyon, in Economic Geology, 107(2), 333-356.
Geochronology and isotope geochemistry of magmatic rocks from Western Srednogorie (Bulgaria) and Timok Magmatic Complex (East Serbia), Diss ETH No. 20033, ETH Zurich
Kolb M. (2011), Geochronology and isotope geochemistry of magmatic rocks from Western Srednogorie (Bulgaria) and Timok Magmatic Complex (East Serbia), Diss ETH No. 20033, ETH Zurich, ETH, Zürich.
Sulfur and halogen analysis of fluid inclusions in magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits, Diss ETH No. 19921, ETH Zurich
Seo J.H. (2011), Sulfur and halogen analysis of fluid inclusions in magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits, Diss ETH No. 19921, ETH Zurich, ETH, Zürich.
Age and source constraints on granitoid magmatism hosting Au-Ag +/- W mineralization at Lutztkan and Ruy plutons, Bulgaria
Peytcheva I., Von Quadt A., Dyulgerov M., Nedialkov R. (2011), Age and source constraints on granitoid magmatism hosting Au-Ag +/- W mineralization at Lutztkan and Ruy plutons, Bulgaria, in Proceedings of the 11th SGA Biennial Meeting, Antofagasta, Chile.
Life-times and scales of Cu-Au-mineralizing magmatic-hydrothermal processes: Farallón Negro (Argentina)
Heinrich C. A., Meier D., Erni M., Von Quadt A., Peytcheva I., Márquez-Zavalia F. (2011), Life-times and scales of Cu-Au-mineralizing magmatic-hydrothermal processes: Farallón Negro (Argentina), in Proceedings of the 11th SGA Biennial Meeting, Antofagasta, Chile.
Zircon crystallization and the lifetimes of ore-forming magmatic-hydrothermal systems
von Quadt A., Erni M., Martinek K., Moll M., Peytcheva I., Heinrich C. A. (2011), Zircon crystallization and the lifetimes of ore-forming magmatic-hydrothermal systems, in Geology, 39(8), 731-734.
The solubility of copper in high-temperature magmatic vapors: A quest for the significance of various chloride and sulfide complexes
Zajacz Z., Seo J. H., Candela P. A., Piccoli P. M., Tossell J. A. (2011), The solubility of copper in high-temperature magmatic vapors: A quest for the significance of various chloride and sulfide complexes, in Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 75(10), 2811-2827.
Microanalysis of S, Cl, and Br in fluid inclusions by LA-ICP-MS
Seo J. H., Guillong M., Aerts M., Zajacz Z., Heinrich C. A. (2011), Microanalysis of S, Cl, and Br in fluid inclusions by LA-ICP-MS, in Chemical Geology, 284(1-2), 35-44.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
PDAC 2013 02.03.2013 Toronto, Canada
2013 Winter Conference on Plasma Spectrochemistry 09.02.2013 Krakow, Poland
2012 AGU Fall Meeting 03.12.2012 San Francisco, USA
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2012 16.11.2012 Bern, Switzerland
Forsterite 2012 16.10.2012 Bonascre, France
Goldschmidt 2012 24.06.2012 Montréal, Canada
Introduction to Mineral Resources 13.04.2012 Muskat, German University of Technology, Oman
Seminar - Royal School of Mines 07.03.2012 London, UK
2011 AGU Fall Meeting 05.12.2011 San Francisco, USA
Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2011 11.11.2011 Zurich, Switzerland
SGA 2011: Let's Talk Ore Deposit 26.09.2011 Antofagasta, Chile
Annual CSMP Workshop 2011 12.09.2011 Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
Goldschmidt 2011 14.08.2011 Prague, Czech Republic
Solomon Meeting: five-day mineral systems forum 08.05.2011 Yallingup, Western Australia


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Diversity of copper and gold deposits in the Eastern Europe Balkan, Carpathian and Rhodopean belts: tectonic, magmatic, and geochronological investigations 28.05.2012 Stip, Macedonia
Annual CSMP Workshop 2012 25.04.2012 Edinburgh, Scotland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Hydrothermal Systems 22.08.2011 Nordvulk summer school on hydrothermal systems and energy, Hengill, Iceland


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Short course on hydrothermal fluid flow 18.06.2012 International Universita Catolica del Norte, Antofagasta, Chile

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Führungen focusTerra German-speaking Switzerland 01.04.2011

Awards

Title Year
Young Geoscientist Award, Geological Society of Korea 2012

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124906 Quantitative Modeling of Ore-Forming Hydrothermal Systems 01.04.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
160757 COTHERM2 - COmbined hydrological, geochemical and geophysical modelling of geotTHERMal systems II. 01.09.2015 Sinergia
141843 COTHERM - COmbined hydrological, geochemical and geophysical modelling of geotTHERMal systems 01.09.2012 Sinergia
128089 Metal transport and ore deposition: The geology, geochemistry and geodynamic setting of mineral resources in Serbia, Macedonia and Bulgaria 01.11.2009 SCOPES
142345 Fluid chemistry of epithermal gold deposits 01.02.2013 International short research visits

Abstract

Many important ore deposits are formed by hydrothermal fluids circulating through magmatic systems on land or beneath the ocean floor. Our group investigates the geological processes leading to this metal enrichment, as a long-term basis for predicting the location and composition of still undiscovered resources. Hydrothermal fluids are also the main agent of heat transfer in active geothermal systems, affecting ocean composition and being explored as a new energy source. To investigate these coupled physical and chemical processes, we are combining four lines of research: integrated field and lab observations in specific ore systems; micro-analytical lab development to characterise the composition and phase state of fluid inclusions; numerical modeling to quantify the interaction of complex fluids with magmas and rocks, and igneous geochemistry and geochronology to understand the province-scale geodynamic processes giving rise to magmatic-hydrothermal ore systems. This proposal is a follow-up to allow completion of three far-advanced PhD projects, and seeks to initiate two new PhD students and a Postdoctoral fellow, to allow a handshake of expertise linking these four lines of research.A. Micro-analytical technique development: Anion analysis in single fluid inclusions Jung Hun Seo’s PhD project extended his technical breakthrough with S analysis to other anions in fluid inclusions (Br, Cl). He requires a small extension to apply combined anion and ore-metal analysis to the late vein generations in the Bingham Canyon Cu-Mo-Au deposit. This work addresses the general question why Mo-rich veins commonly form later than Cu-Au veinlets in evolving porphyry deposits. He is also testing whether the post-ore quartz-sericite-pyrite veins contain Au-S-rich fluids, as predicted from earlier studies when we were still unable to analyse for sulphur.B. Numerical modeling of two-phase fluid flow in magmatic-hydrothermal systemsPostdoc Philipp Weis has cracked earlier problems with our finite-element code CSMP++, to model two-phase flow of salty fluids in combination with internal fluid sources. He is computing generic applications of the interaction of magmatic fluids with meteoric or seawater, to investigate the hydrology and thermal structure of magmatic-hydrothermal systems, including porphyry-type ore deposits and active arc volcanoes. We request funding for a collaboration with IPG Paris, to apply our unique modeling capabilities to the Lucky Strike hydrothermal system on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Recent geophysical data by IPGP, and an international seafloor observatory currently being installed provide the geometric constraints on the subjacent magma chamber and tectonic structures, as well as the timescales of hydrological changes as recorded by black smokers and diffuse venting. These data will allow the first realistic computations of subsurface fluid flow paths and hydrothermal heat transfer at globally important but physically enigmatic slow-spreading ridges.C. Integrated case studies: from porphyry-Cu-Mo-Au to an Iron Oxide Cu-Au systemPhD student Ingo Steinberger has integrated geological and geophysical constraints for the giant Bingham Canyon porphyry-Cu-Mo-Au deposit, including clear limits on the size of the subjacent magma chamber modeled from high-resolution aeromagnetic data. With the updated simulation code (Part B) he will compute a range of process evolution scenarios incorporating realistic dimensions in terms of system-scale geometry and deposit-scale chemical mass transfer, as a physical test on our magmatic vapour plume model for shallow porphyry-style mineralisation derived from fluid inclusion data. As a new PhD project, we propose the first integrated LA-ICPMS study of fluid evolution in a Proterozoic Iron-Oxide Copper-Gold ore system (Prominent Hill, South Australia), which will include recently developed Br/Cl and Pb isotope geochemistry on individual fluid inclusions.D. Geodynamics, geochronology and hydrothermal ore provinces: Banat - Apuseni interplayResearch links with Bulgarian, Romanian, Macedonian and Serbian partners established in the European GEODE and the Swiss SCOPES coordination programs are expanded by specific research into the relationships between lithosphere-scale geodynamics and ore formation in South-Eastern Europe. PhD student Melanie Moll needs a funding extension to complete her project on igneous geochronology of the Cu-Au mineralised Timok Zone of Serbia. A new PhD project will investigate the northernmost segment of Europe’s main Andean-type magmatic-metallogenic belt. In northern Serbia and southwestern Romania, Upper Cretaceous subduction magmatism may have prepared the lithosphere for extension-related calc-alkaline magmatism and Cu-Au-Te mineralisation during the Miocene. This provides an excellent test area to investigate post-subduction hydrous magma generation and ore formation.
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