Combining in situ isotopic, trace element and textural analyses of quartz from four magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits

Dominique Tanner*, Richard W. Henley, John A. Mavrogenes, Peter Holden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


This study couples in situ 16O, 17O and 18O isotope and in situ trace element analyses to investigate and characterize the geochemical and textural complexity of magmatic-hydrothermal quartz crystals. Euhedral quartz crystals contemporaneous with mineralization were obtained from four magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits: El Indio Au-Ag-Cu deposit; Summitville Au-Ag-Cu deposit; North Parkes Cu-Au deposit and Kingsgate quartz-Mo-Bi-W deposit. The internal features of the crystals were imaged using cathodoluminescence and qualitative electron microprobe maps. Quantitative isotopic data were collected in situ using 157 nm laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (for 40 trace elements in quartz) and sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe (for 3 isotopes in quartz). Imaging revealed fine oscillatory zoning, sector zoning, complex "macromosaic" textures and hidden xenocrystic cores. In situ oxygen isotope analyses revealed a δ18O range of up to 12.4 ± 0.3 ‰ in a single crystal-the largest isotopic range ever ascribed to oscillatory zonation in quartz. Some of these crystals contain a heavier δ18O signature than expected by existing models. While sector-zoned crystals exhibited strong trace element variations between faces, no evidence for anisotropic isotope fractionation was found. We found: (1) isotopic heterogeneity in hydrothermal quartz crystals is common and precludes provenance analysis (e.g., δD-δ18O) using bulk analytical techniques, (2) the trace element signature of quartz is not an effective pathfinder toward noble metal mineralization and (3) in three of the four samples, both textural and isotopic data indicate non-equilibrium deposition of quartz.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1142
Number of pages24
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


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