The Evolution of the Los Negritos Porphyry Copper Deposit, Coquimbo, Chile: Geological, Geochronological, Mineralogical and Geochemical Evidence
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The Los Negritos porphyry copper deposit is located ~ 4 km to the northeast of Carmen de Andacollo Mine in the Chilean Cretaceous metallogenic belt. The mineralization is hosted in andesite of the Quebrada Marquesa Formation and a series of at least four early to intramineral porphyry intrusive rock types: plagioclase quartz biotite porphyry (P1b and P1a dated at 109.60± 0.75 Ma and 107.22± 0.40 Ma); plagioclase biotite porphyry (P2: 106.30 ± 0.47 Ma); and quartz plagioclase biotite porphyry (P3: 106.19 ± 0.42 Ma). These units are cut by late‐ to post‐mineral plagioclase‐hornblende porphyritic rocks (P4b: 106.20 ± 0.69 Ma and P4a: 106.50 ± 0.68 Ma). The earliest intrusive units (P1) were affected by an initial stage of K‐feldspar‐biotite alteration, with chalcopyrite, molybdenite (date at 108.5 ± 0.5 Ma) and gold (up to 0.11 ppm), and the surrounding volcanic host rock was overprinted by chlorite‐epidote dominated (propylitic) alteration. Subsequent to the P2 and P3 intrusion, these rocks were affected by albite and then a second stage of potassic alteration. The Ti and Ba contents in hydrothermal biotite are notably lower (typically Ti = 0.100‐0.144 a.p.f.u. and Ba = 0.001‐0.005 a.p.f.u) than in magmatic ones (generally Ti = 0.186‐0.222 a.p.f.u. and Ba = 0.014‐0.023 a.p.f.u.), and constitute an excellent discriminant of the nature of biotite. These early stages of alteration were overprinted by copper‐molybdenum bearing chlorite‐sericite alteration at 106.60 ± 0.5 Ma (Re‐Os age in molybdenite) and by quartz‐sericite‐pyrite veins (phyllic), respectively in the southwest and northeast areas. The average temperature associated with these two alteration facies is estimated around 305 °C. Weak albite‐calcite alteration, spatially associated with sulfosalts and distributed along the margins of P3, overprinted the phyllic facies. The intrusive rock units at the Los Negritos and Carmen de Andacollo deposits are geochemically classified as diorite to granodiorite with a calc‐alkaline magmatic affinity, and formed in a volcanic arc setting from partial melting of a metasomatized mantle wedge. They are interpreted to be cogenetic, and related to a common long‐lived magma chamber that emplaced during a period of tectonic inversion known as the Subhercynian, Peruvian or Pacific event.