Contrasting hydrological processes of meteoric water incursion during magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposition: An oxygen isotope study by ion microprobe
Meteoric water convection has long been recognized as an efficient means to cool magmatic intrusions in the Earth's upper crust. This interplay between magmatic and hydrothermal activity thus exerts a primary control on the structure and evolution of volcanic, geothermal and ore-forming systems. Incursion of meteoric water into magmatic-hydrothermal systems has been linked to tin ore deposition in granitic plutons. In contrast, evidence from porphyry copper ore deposits suggests that crystallizing subvolcanic magma bodies are only affected by meteoric water incursion in peripheral zones and during late post-ore stages. We apply high-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to analyze oxygen isotope ratios of individual growth zones in vein quartz crystals, imaged by cathodo-luminescence microscopy (SEM-CL). Existing microthermometric information from fluid inclusions enables calculation of the oxygen isotope composition of the fluid from which the quartz precipitated, constraining the relative timing of meteoric water input into these two different settings. Our results confirm that incursion of meteoric water directly contributes to cooling of shallow granitic plutons and plays a key role in concurrent tin mineralization. By contrast, data from two porphyry copper deposits suggest that downward circulating meteoric water is counteracted by up-flowing hot magmatic fluids. Our data show that porphyry copper ore deposition occurs close to a magmatic-meteoric water interface, rather than in a purely magmatic fluid plume, confirming recent hydrological modeling. On a larger scale, the expulsion of magmatic fluids against the meteoric water interface can shield plutons from rapid convective cooling, which may aid the build-up of large magma chambers required for porphyry copper ore formation. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.