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Exploration rock geochemistry for Pinnacles-type mineralization at Broken Hill, N.S.W., Australia

Journal of Geochemical Exploration
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0375-6742(84)90010-4
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science


Abstract Geochemical responses in weathered and oxidized surface metasedimentary rocks associated with stratiform lead-zinc mineralization at Stirling Hill (6 km west of Broken Hill) are compared with the geochemical responses in fresh drill core from an equivalent lithostratigraphic section with stratiform lead-zinc mineralization at the Pinnacles Mine (8 km south of Stirling Hill). Mineralization is interpreted as being volcanic exhalative and it lies within highly metamorphosed (sillimanite grade) rocks of the Willyama Supergroup. Surface rocks were classified into groups by discriminant analysis using drill core data from the Pinnacles Mine as the initial training set. The behaviour of elements in surface rocks varies with the rock group but Zn, Pb, Mn, Fe, and Co are leached from all surface rocks relative to fresh drill core. Nothwithstanding the leaching effects of weathering, common geochemical responses to mineralization have been identified in drill core and surface rocks. Coincident positive anomalies for Zn/Ba and Fe/(Na × Ba) ratios and negative anomalies for Na/(Mn × Ca) ratios uniquely define mineralization in both weathered surface rocks and in fresh drill core. The results demonstrate that the pattern of geochemical responses to Pinnacles-type stratiform volcanic-exhalative mineralization in surface rocks has survived the intensive weathering regime in the Broken Hill region.

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