Sulfide resorption contributes to porphyry deposit formation in collisional settings

Xia, Wen-jie; Wang, Rui and Jenner, Frances (2023). Sulfide resorption contributes to porphyry deposit formation in collisional settings. Ore Geology Reviews, 163, article no. 105804.



Production of Cu-rich melts via melting of sulfide-bearing lower crustal cumulates is thought to contribute to porphyry Cu formation in the post-collisional Gangdese belt (Tibet). We present new whole rock, including platinum group elements (PGE) data, for ore-causative granites (OCG), ore-related granites (ORG) and barren granites (BG) from the Gangdese belt. The OCG, ORG and BG show indistinguishable Cu, PGE and Cu/Ag behavior during differentiation down to ∼2 wt% MgO. These systematics, together with the occurrence of sulfides, demonstrate that the propensity for some Gangdese magmas to be ore-associated is unrelated to melting of sulfide-bearing cumulates or the relative timing of sulfide fractionation. The behavior of chalcophile and siderophile elements during differentiation of the OCG, ORG and BG diverges when melts evolve past 2–3 wt% MgO and exsolve H2O, S and Cl: the BG show a decrease in Cu, whereas the OCG and ORG show highly variable Cu, Au, and PGE trends. Because S degassing causes melts to become sulfur undersaturated and because Cu is highly soluble in Cl-rich fluids, any sulfides in contact with the melt or magmatic fluids following volatile exsolution would dissolve. Continual injection, cooling and ascent of magmas through the Gangdese crust is expected to have resulted in the development of regions of crystal-rich partially molten crust beneath the intrusive granites. We suggest that prior to porphyry mineralization, extension and erosion caused exhumation of these long-lived sulfide-bearing mush zones. This exhumation may have caused a change in magmatism style from volatile exsolution after the melts transited sulfide-bearing mushes (i.e., the BG), to volatile exsolution during magma transit through sulfide-bearing mushes (i.e., the OCG). We suggest that only the magmas and that exsolved fluids during their ascent through sulfide-bearing mushes were able to assimilate sufficient Cu-rich sulfides to fuel the formation of porphyry Cu deposits in the region.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions