Magmas, fluids, faults & metals - re-assessing the controls on magmatic-hydrothermal mineralisation & zonation associated with the Cornubian Batholith

Lead Research Organisation: UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Department Name: Camborne School of Mines


Full project title: Magmas, fluids, faults and metals - re-assessing the controls on magmatic-hydrothermal W-Sn-Cu-As-Zn-Pb mineralisation and zonation associated with the Cornubian Batholith, SW England.

The W-Sn-Cu-As-Zn-Pb ore field, centred upon the Early Permian Cornubian Batholith, is a global exemplar of magmatic-hydrothermal mineralisation associated with peraluminous granites and mineral zonation, where there is often a progressive change in dominant mineral assemblage with distance from the granite (W-Sn plus/minus As proximal and Cu, Zn and Pb distal). The heterogeneous distribution of metals and mineralisation styles around "emanative centres", including the anomalous occurrence of substantial Cu with peraluminous granite, indicates a complex relationship between magmatism, separation of magmatic volatile phases, faulting and fluid mixing. Changes in source melting and differentiation control the broad distribution of granite types and metal prospectivity (Simons et al., 2017). The focus of this project is to characterise the fluid types involved in mineralisation and how their structurally-controlled migration and mixing has controlled variations in the distribution of mineral assemblages and metals.

Project Aims and Methods
The project is focussed upon the systematic analysis of melt and fluid inclusions in different granite types and mineralisation styles from across the SW England orefield. These will be used to determine: (1) the compositional variability of primary exsolved magmatic-hydrothermal fluids and their control by evolving melt compositions, and (2) the parameters controlling precipitation of ore metals from these solutions (e.g. cooling, phase separation, wall-rock reaction). Careful sample mineralogy and petrography, including SEM, QEMSCAN and cathodoluminescence techniques, will underpin the fluid inclusion microanalysis using microthermometry and laser ablation ICP-MS. Isotopic analysis of minerals will be used to evaluate alternative models for the source and evolution of fluids. These data will be combined with the distribution of syn-magmatic fault systems and historical metal production, to provide a re-evaluation of the controls on mineralisation, mineral zonation and the origin of "emanative centres". The project will utilise material from collections at the Natural History Museum, Imperial College London and Camborne School of Mines but will require fieldwork to collect samples from areas where cross-cutting relationships between intrusions and vein sets can be documented in detail. Current and recent exploration by the CASE partners has provides an unparalleled opportunity to sample from diamond drill core samples.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
NE/S007504/1 30/09/2019 30/11/2028
2580988 Studentship NE/S007504/1 30/09/2021 15/12/2025 Kiara Brooksby