Prograde and retrograde metasomatic reactions in mineralised magnesium-silicate skarn in the Cu-Au Ertsberg East Skarn System, Ertsberg, Papua Province, Indonesia

Melanie J. Sieber*, Frank J. Brink, Clyde Leys, Penelope L. King, Richard W. Henley

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The 2.7–2.9 Ma Ertsberg East Skarn System (EESS) is a world-class Cu-Au skarn that formed within and adjacent to an intrusion within a paleodepth of 0.5 km and >2.5 km. Its economic mineralisation developed by sustained reaction of magmatic fluid with contact metamorphosed siliciclastic and carbonate rocks at the margin of the adjacent Ertsberg quartz monzodiorite intrusion. Based on high-resolution mineral mapping, chemical analysis and thermodynamic calculations, the multistage formation processes of the exoskarn components of the EESS are examined in the context of changing pressure, temperature, fluid composition and fluid phase. We show that contact metamorphism of dolomitic sediments occurred at 51 ± 5 MPa, between 700 °C and 800 °C and in the presence of a H2O-CO2-fluid containing ~10 to ~70 mol% CO2. This prograde metamorphism formed a forsterite + diopside + calcite + phlogopite + spinel assemblage. Such forsterite-dominated skarns account for ~55 vol% of the EESS exoskarns. Rare pargasite (previously unrecognized in this deposit) formed locally in the metamorphosed carbonate sequence where the protolith was composed of supratidal evaporites with dolomitic carbonate and interlayered calc-silicate rocks. The subsequent flux of a lower pressure magmatic gas containing SO2(g) caused sulphate metasomatism. This high temperature gas alteration of the metamorphic assemblage also caused skarn Cu-Fe-sulphide mineralisation. The influx of a SO2 gas through fracture permeability occurred at a temperature between ~600 and 700 °C and caused calcite to be replaced by anhydrite, with the coupled release of H2S(g). This in-situ release of H2S(g) scavenged trace Cu from the gas phase to deposit Cu-Fe-sulphides, which make the economic value of the distinct. We demonstrate that the formation of metal sulphides within forsterite skarns of the Ertsberg East Skarn System required a minimum flux of ~1,050 Mt SO2(g) and show that volcanic degassing may have occurred over a time span of ~3,900 years. As the system waned, the ambient fluid resulted in partial retrograde serpentinization of olivine and diopside without carbonation, and at temperatures sufficiently high to preserve anhydrite.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number103697
    JournalOre Geology Reviews
    Volume125
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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