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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences


Publication details for Prof. Dave Selby

Rottier, Bertrand, Kouzmanov, Kalin, Ovtcharova, Maria, Ulianov, Alexey, Wälle, Markus, Selby, David & Fontboté, Lluís (2020). Multiple rejuvenation episodes of a silicic magma reservoir at the origin of the large diatreme-dome complex and porphyry-type mineralization events at Cerro de Pasco (Peru). Lithos 376-377: 105766.

Author(s) from Durham


The Cerro de Pasco district in central Peru hosts one of the world largest porphyry-related epithermal polymetallic deposits. The district is centered onto a large diatreme-dome complex crosscut by numerous dacite to rhyodacite bodies showing domal structures and quartz-monzonite dykes. Three temporally distinct high-temperature porphyry-type mineralization events have been recognized (PM1, PM2, and PM3). Dating of the latter by molybdenite Re-Os and by zircon U-Pb (LA-ICP-MS and CA-ID-TIMS) geochronology complements the already available dataset of zircon U-Pb ages of the subvolcanic and volcanic rocks mostly dacitic in composition occurring in the district and shows the existence of successive short-lived episodes (<100 kyr) of shallow magmatic activity and porphyry-type mineralization. The new geochronology data indicate that the magmatic system was active during more than 400 kyr, spanning from 15.59 ± 0.12 Ma to 15.16 ± 0.04 Ma, punctuated by three porphyry-type mineralization events that are precursors (maximum gap of 0.9 Myr) of the last stage of epithermal polymetallic mineralization at Cerro de Pasco. Detailed petrographic and geochemical (whole rock and minerals) studies have been performed and silicate melt inclusions hosted in quartz phenocrysts from the subvolcanic and volcanic rocks emplaced between and after the different porphyry-type mineralization events have been analyzed by LA-ICP-MS. Our results suggest that prior to their emplacement at shallow level, magmas were stored at depth with a high degree of crystallinity (>50%) at pressures between 0.9 and 3.4 kbar and at temperatures between ~680 °C and ~725 °C. At such conditions, magma is beyond the point of rheological lock-up and is not eruptible. The emplacement of the mostly dacitic subvolcanic and volcanic rocks has required a series of rejuvenation events of the upper crustal high-crystallinity silicic magma reservoir. Field relationships and geochronology indicate that emplacement of the subvolcanic and volcanic rocks is preceded each time by high-temperature (>600 °C) quartz-pyrite-magnetite ± chalcopyrite and quartz-molybdenite veining forming the three recognized porphyry-type mineralization events. Hydrothermal quartz of these veins host silicate melt inclusions, a rare feature in hydrothermal veins. Their composition determined by LA-ICP-MS analysis indicates that the mineralizing fluids, potentially sourced from intermediate magma recharges, have circulated in a magma reservoir in which the residual interstitial melt was more evolved than the melt trapped as inclusions in the magmatic quartz. The combined geochemical and geochronological data obtained show that several episodes of rejuvenation of a highly crystallized upper-crustal silicic magma reservoir, probably triggered by intermediate magma recharges and by circulation of CO2- and S-rich fluids exsolved from them, are at the origin of the large diatreme-dome complex and porphyry-type mineralization events at Cerro de Pasco.