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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Academic Staff

Publication details for Prof. Dave Selby

Li, Y., Selby, D., Feely, M., Costanzo, A. & Li, X.-H. (2017). Fluid inclusion characteristics and molybdenite Re-Os geochronology of the Qulong porphyry copper-molybdenum deposit, Tibet. Mineralium Deposita 52(2): 137-158.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

The Qulong porphyry copper and molybdenum deposit is located at the southwest margin of the Lhasa Terrane and in the eastern region of the Gangdese magmatic belt. It represents China’s largest porphyry copper system, with ∼2200 million tonnes of ore comprising 0.5 % Cu and 0.03 % Mo. The mineralization is associated with Miocene granodiorite, monzogranite and quartz-diorite units, which intruded into Jurassic volcanic units in a post-collisional (Indian-Asian) tectonic setting. Field observations and core logging demonstrate the alteration and mineralization at Qulong are akin to typical porphyry copper systems in subduction settings, which comprise similar magmatic-hydrothermal, potassic, propylitic and phyllic alteration assemblages. Molybdenite Re-Os geochronology confirms the relative timeframe defined by field observations and core logging and indicates that the bulk copper and molybdenum at Qulong were deposited within 350,000 years: between 16.10 ± 0.06 [0.08] (without and with decay constant uncertainty) and 15.88 ± 0.06 [0.08] Ma. This duration for mineralization is in direct contrast to a long-lived intrusive episode associated with mineralization based on previous zircon U-Pb data. Our fluid inclusion study indicates that the ore-forming fluid was oxidized and contained Na, K, Ca, Fe, Cu, Mo, Cl and S. The magmatic-hydrothermal transition occurred at ∼425 °C under lithostatic pressure, while potassic, propylitic and phyllic alteration occurred at hydrostatic pressure with temperature progressively decreasing from 425 to 280 °C. The fluid inclusion data presented here suggests that there has been ∼2.3 km of erosion at Qulong after its formation, and this erosion may be related to regional uplift of the Lhasa Terrane.