Boron, sulphur and copper isotope systematics in the orogenic gold deposits of the Archaean Hattu schist belt, eastern Finland

Ferenc Molnár, Irmeli Mänttäri, Hugh O'Brien, Yann Lahaye, Lassi Pakkanen, Bo Johanson, Asko Käpyaho, Peter Sorjonen-Ward, Martin Whitehouse, Grigorios Sakellaris

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The Hattu schist belt is located in the western part of the Archaean Karelian domain of the Fennoscandian Shield. The orogenic gold deposits with Au-Bi-Te geochemical signatures are hosted by NE-SW, N-S and NW-SE oriented shear zones that deform 2.76-2.73 Ga volcanic and sedimentary sequences, as well as 2.75-2.72 Ga tonalite-granodiorite intrusions and diverse felsic porphyry dykes. Mo-W mineralization is also present in some tonalite intrusions, both separate from, and associated with Au mineralization. Somewhat younger, unmineralized leucogranite intrusions (2.70 Ga) also intrude the belt. Lower amphibolite facies peak metamorphism at 3-5 kbar pressures and at 500-600 °C temperatures affected the belt at around 2.70 Ga and post-date hydrothermal alteration and ore formation. In this study, we investigated the potential influence of magmatic-hydrothermal processes on the formation of orogenic gold deposits on the basis of multiple stable isotope (B, S, Cu) studies of tourmaline and sulphide minerals by application of in situ SIMS and LA ICP MS analytical techniques. Crystal chemistry of tourmaline from a Mo-W mineralization hosted by a tonalite intrusion in the Hattu schist belt is characterized by Fe3+-Al3+-substitution indicating relatively oxidizing conditions of hydrothermal processes. The range of δ11B data for this kind of tourmaline is from -17.2‰ to -12.2‰. The hydrothermal tourmaline from felsic porphyry dyke swith gold mineralization has similar crystal chemistry (e.g. dravite-povondraite compositional trend with Fe3+-Al3+ substitution) and δ11B values between -19.0‰ and -9.6‰. The uvite-foitite compositional trend and δ11B ‰ values between -24.1% and -13.6% characterize metasomatic-hydrothermal tourmaline from the metasediment-hosted gold deposits. Composition of hydrothermal vein-filling and disseminated tourmaline from the gold-bearing shear zones in metavolcanic rocks is transitional between the felsic intrusion and metasedimentary rock hosted hydrothermal tourmaline but the range of average boron isotope data is essentially identical with that of the metasediment-hosted tourmaline. Rock-forming (magmatic) tourmaline from leucogranite has δ11B values between -14.5‰ and -10.8‰ and the major element composition is similar to that of the metasediment-hosted tourmaline. The range of δ34SVCDT values measured in pyrite, chalcopyrite and pyrrhotite is from -9.1 to +8.5‰, which falls within the typical range of sulphur isotope data for Archaean orogenic gold deposits. In the Hattu schist belt, positive δ34SVCDT values characterize metasediment-hosted gold ores with sulphide parageneses dominated by pyrrhotite and arsenopyrite. The δ34SVCDT values are both positive and negative in ore mineral parageneses within felsic intrusive rocks in which variable amounts of pyrrhotite are associated with pyrite. Purely negative values were only recorded from the pyrite-dominated gold mineralization within metavolcanic units. Therefore the shift of δ34SVCDT values to the negative values reflects precipitation of sulphide minerals from relatively oxidizing fluids. The range of measured δ65CuNBS978 values from chalcopyrite is from -1.11 to 1.19‰. Positive values are common for mineralization in felsic intrusive rocks and negative values are more typical for deposits confined to metasedimentary rocks. Positive and negative δ65CuNBS978 values occur in the ores hosted by metavolcanic rocks. There is no correlation between sulphur and copper isotope data obtained in the same chalcopyrite grains.Evaluation of sulphur and boron isotope data together and comparisons with other Archaean orogenic gold provinces supports the hypothesis that the metasedimentary rocks were the major sources of sulphur and boron in the orogenic gold deposits in the Hattu schist belt. Variations in major element and boron isotope compositions in tourmaline, as well as in the δ34SVCDT values in sulphide minerals are attributed to localized involvement of magmatic fluids in the hydrothermal processes. The results of copper isotope studies indicate that local sources of copper in orogenic gold deposits may potentially be recognized if the original, distinct signatures of the sources have not been homogenized by widespread interaction of fluids with a large variety of rocks and provided that local chemical variations have been too small to trigger changes in the oxidation state of copper during hydrothermal processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-162
Number of pages30
JournalOre Geology Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Archaean orogenic gold deposits
  • Boron isotope
  • Copper isotope
  • Sources of fluids
  • Sulphur isotope
  • Tourmaline crystal chemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economic Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geology

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    Molnár, F., Mänttäri, I., O'Brien, H., Lahaye, Y., Pakkanen, L., Johanson, B., Käpyaho, A., Sorjonen-Ward, P., Whitehouse, M., & Sakellaris, G. (2016). Boron, sulphur and copper isotope systematics in the orogenic gold deposits of the Archaean Hattu schist belt, eastern Finland. Ore Geology Reviews, 77, 133-162.