Sulphide melt and aqueous fluid saturation in the PGE–Au mineralisation of the Skaergaard intrusion: evidence from melt inclusions

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The Skaergaard intrusion in East Greenland hosts mineralisation of platinum group elements and gold that is characterised by a remarkably low amount of sulphides (about 0.02 wt% sulphide) and a very high metal/sulphur ratio. Here we present the first quantitative analyses of sulphur (S), copper (Cu), lithium (Li) and other trace elements from melt inclusions in plagioclase to trace their evolution in the magma and to constrain the formation of the mineralisation. The concentration of these elements in the melt inclusions varies considerably within each sample. The S content in melt inclusions ranges from 165 to 320 ppm in the lower part of the intrusion, but increases to 349–512 ppm immediately below the mineralisation interval. In the same interval, the Li content increases from 22–43 to 40–69 ppm and Cu ranges from 118 to 1586 ppm with no systematic variations. Across the mineralisation, the Li content drops an order of magnitude to 4–7 ppm and S drops to 250–326 ppm. We explain these compositional changes as reflecting the magmatic evolution as the result of fractional crystallisation below, and coinciding aqueous fluid exsolution and sulphide saturation across the mineralisation. Normally the S content of basaltic magmas is much higher at sulphide saturation. We propose that sulphide saturation is possible, nevertheless, mostly due to the high Cu content and high Cu/Fe in the evolved ferrobasaltic melt resulting in a lowering of the S concentration required for sulphide saturation. The relationship between exsolutions of aqueous fluids and sulphides remains unknown.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
Artikelnummer14
TidsskriftContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Vol/bind175
Nummer2
Antal sider20
ISSN0010-7999
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 1 feb. 2020

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