The Huangshannan Ni–Cu sulfide deposit at the southern margin of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) is an important recent discovery in the Eastern Tianshan Region, Northwestern China. The Huangshannan Intrusion is composed of mafic and ultramafic rocks, and its websterite and lherzolite sequences host the sulfide orebodies. Olivine is the dominant mineral in the Huangshannan Intrusion, occurring as olivine inclusions hosted by pyroxene oikocrysts, as olivine crystals in magmatic sulfides, and as poikilitic crystals in the lherzolite. Small olivine inclusions always coexist with large poikilitic olivine crystals in the same sample, resulting in a heterogeneous texture on the scale of the oikocrysts. The Ni abundance ranges from 1540 to 3772ppm in poikilitic olivine grains, from 2114 to 3740ppm in olivine grains hosted by sulfide minerals, and from 2043 to 4023ppm in olivine inclusions hosted by pyroxene oikocrysts. For the three types of olivine, the ranges in forsterite (Fo) content are 78.97–84.92mol.%, 81.57–84.79mol.%, and 80.33–84.68mol.%, respectively. The Ni content of olivine in the lherzolite is anomalously high relative to the range found in most within plate olivine-bearing mafic-ultramafic rocks. The composition of olivine is controlled mainly by that of the parental magma, fractional crystallization and reactions with interstitial silicate and sulfide melts. Both fractional crystallization and reaction with interstitial silicate may cause a decrease in the Ni content of olivine. The possibility that Ni–Fe exchange causes the anomalously high Ni contents in olivine can be excluded because the olivine grains contained in sulfide have similar or lower Ni content than the olivine grains hosted in the silicate rock. Most of the olivine grains are unzoned, and they have anomalously high Ni contents throughout the crystal. Assuming a partition coefficient of Ni between olivine and silicate magma to be 7, the measured Ni content of olivine in the lherzolite (1540–4023ppm with a mean of 2907ppm) indicates that the parental magma contains 220–575ppm (average of 415ppm) Ni. This value is higher than that found in basaltic magmas that crystallized olivine with similar Fo contents compared to the Huangshannan Intrusion. As mentioned above, the symmetric and reproducible variations in both Fo and Ni contents from core to margin in most of the olivine grains cannot be explained by fractional crystallization and reactions with interstitial silicate or sulfide melts but may reflect the equilibration of the olivine with new fluxes of magma as the chamber was replenished. The anomalously Ni-rich composition of the parental magmas of the Huangshannan Intrusion, relative to those of many other mineralized olivine-bearing mafic-ultramafic intrusions, may be produced by upgrading and scavenging of metals from a previously formed sulfide melts by a moderately Ni-rich magma. The mass-balance calculations of PGE data indicate that the parental magma that formed lherzolite contains 0.04ppb Os, 0.02ppb Ir and 0.4ppb Pd, whereas the parental magma that formed websterite has 0.02ppb Os, 0.009ppb Ir and 0.75ppb Pd. Rayleigh modeling using PGE tenors indicates that the massive sulfides may be produced by monosulfide solid solution (MSS)-sulfide liquid fractionation from the magma that formed the websterite. Rayleigh modeling of Fo and Ni contents of olivine shows that the parental magma that formed the lherzolite has experienced previous sulfide segregation and olivine crystallization.
Ore Geology Reviews – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2016
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