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Orogenic gold mineralization hosted by Archaean basement rocks at Sortekap, Kangerlussuaq area, east Greenland

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Abstract

A gold-bearing quartz vein system has been identified in Archaean basement rocks at Sortekap in the Kangerlussuaq region of east Greenland, 35 km north–northeast of the Skaergaard Intrusion. This constitutes the first recorded occurrence of Au mineralisation in the metamorphic basement rocks of east Greenland. The mineralisation can be classified as orogenic style, quartz vein-hosted Au mineralisation. Two vein types have been identified based on their alteration styles and the presence of Au mineralisation. Mineralised type 1 veins occur within sheared supracrustal units and are hosted by garnet-bearing amphibolites, with associated felsic and ultramafic intrusions. Gold is present as native Au and Au-rich electrum together with arsenopyrite and minor pyrite and chalcopyrite in thin alteration selvages in the immediate wall rocks. The alteration assemblage of actinolite-clinozoisite-muscovite-titanite-scheelite-arsenopyrite-pyrite is considered to be a greenschist facies assemblage. The timing of mineralisation is therefore interpreted as being later and separate event to the peak amphibolite facies metamorphism of the host rocks. Type 2 quartz veins are barren of mineralisation, lack significant alteration of the wall rocks and are considered to be later stage. Fluid inclusion microthermometry of the quartz reveals three separate fluids, including a high temperature (T h  = 300–350 °C), H2O–CO2–CH4 fluid present only in type 1 veins that in interpreted to be responsible for the main stage of Au deposition and sulphidic wall rock alteration. It is likely that the carbonic fluids were actually trapped at temperatures closer to 400 °C. Two other fluids were identified within both vein types, which comprise low temperature (100–200 °C) brines, with salinities of 13–25 wt% eq. NaCl and at least one generation of low salinity aqueous fluids. The sources and timings of the secondary fluids are currently equivocal but they may be related to the emplacement of Paleogene mafic intrusions. The identification of this occurrence of orogenic-style Au mineralisation has implications for exploration in the underexplored area of east Greenland between 62 and 69° N, where other, similar supracrustal units are known to be present.

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