Lead and sulfur isotope composition of trace occurrences of Mississippi Valley-type mineralization in the U.S. midcontinent

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Abstract

Mississippi Valley-type (MVT) Zn-Pb mineralization in the U.S. mid-continent has formed in numerous widely dispersed trace occurrences and in a few large ore deposits that have been mined. Based on similarly high fluid inclusion salinities and high homogenization temperatures relative to inferred burial depth, the trace MVT occurrences and MVT ore deposits may be genetically related by having precipitated from the same regional groundwater flow system mobilized by Pennsylvanian-Permian tectonism. The purpose of the present study was to test the robustness of this inferred genetic relationship by characterizing the Pb and S isotope composition of trace MVT occurrences in light of the much more thoroughly studied MVT ore deposits. Lead and sulfur isotope compositions have been obtained for trace MVT occurrences from three broad regions of the U.S. mid-continent: the Forest City basin (FCB), the Illinois basin (ILB), and the Greater Upper Mississippi Valley (GUMV) region. Lead isotope compositions of trace MVT occurrences from each of these three areas define discrete linear trends that are similarly oriented but not strictly collinear with one another or with the Pb isotope trends of MVT ore deposits, suggesting that trace MVT occurrences in each of these three regions derived their Pb from separate pairs of end-member Pb sources. An exception is the GUMV trace MVT occurrences and the Upper Mississippi (UMV) district ores, which appear to have collinear Pb isotope trends and thus may be the most closely related genetically with respect to sources of Pb. All of the trace MVT occurrences have radiogenic Pb suggesting derivation from Precambrian igneous basement rocks and not from the formations that host trace MVT mineralization. Trace MVT occurrences tend to have less radiogenic Pb than the MVT ore deposits, although trace MVT occurrences from the GUMV region are the most heterogeneous and can have Pb that is as radiogenic as the MVT ore deposits. Regionally, Pb isotope compositions of trace MVT occurrences tend to become less radiogenic southwestward and southward, but do not correlate with host rock age, and by proxy, distance from the Precambrian basement. The sulfur isotope compositions of sphalerite and galena from the trace MVT occurrences are light compared to the MVT ore deposits and likely reflect incomplete reduction of marine sulfate reservoirs or derivation from organic matter. The Pb and S isotope compositions of the trace MVT occurrences do not correlate well, suggesting that Pb and S were not transported together in the same fluid.

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Field, J. D., Appold, M. S., Renson, V., & Coveney, R. M. (2018). Lead and sulfur isotope composition of trace occurrences of Mississippi Valley-type mineralization in the U.S. midcontinent. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 184, 66–81. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gexplo.2017.10.011

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