The Marcona - Mina Justa District, South-Central Perú: Implications for the Genesis and Definition of the Iron Oxide-Copper (-Gold) Ore Deposit Clan
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The Marcona district of littoral south-central Perú represents the largest concentration of iron oxide-copper-gold deposits in the Central Andes. Hydrothermal activity occurred episodically from 177 to 95 Ma and was controlled by NE-striking faults. At Marcona, emplacement of massive magnetite orebodies with subordinate, overprinted magnetite-sulphide assemblages coincided with a 156-162 Ma episode of eruption of andesitic magma in the Jurassic arc, but mineralization is hosted largely by underlying, Lower Paleozoic metaclastic rocks. The magnetite orebodies exhibit smoothly curving, abrupt contacts, dike-like to tubular apophyses and intricate, amoeboid interfingering with dacite porphyry intrusions, interpreted as evidence for the commingling of hydrous Fe oxidic and silicic melts. An evolution from magnetite - biotite - calcic amphibole ± phlogopite assemblages, which are inferred to have crystallized from an Fe-oxide melt, to magnetite - phlogopite - calcic amphibole - sulphide assemblages coincided with quenching from above 700°C to below 450°C and with the exsolution of aqueous fluids with magmatic stable isotopic compositions. Subsequent, subeconomic chalcopyrite - pyrite - calcite ± pyrrhotite ± sphalerite assemblages were deposited from cooler fluids with similar δ34S, δ18O and δ13C values, but higher δD, which may record the involvement of both seawater and meteoric water. The much younger (95-110 Ma), entirely hydrothermal, Mina Justa Cu (-Ag) deposit is hosted by Middle Jurassic andesites intruded, on a district scale, by small dioritic stocks at the faulted SW margin of an Aptian-Albian shallow-marine volcano-sedimentary basin. Intense albite-actinolite alteration (ca. 157 Ma) and K-Fe metasomatism (ca. 142 Ma) long preceded the deposition of magnetite-pyrite assemblages from 500-600°C fluids with a magmatic isotopic signature. In contrast, ensuing chalcopyrite - bornite - digenite - chalcocite - hematite - calcite mineralization was entirely the product of non - magmatic, probably evaporite-sourced, brines. Marcona and Mina Justa therefore represent contrasted ore deposit types and may bear minimal genetic relationships. The former shares similarities with other Kiruna-type magnetite (-apatite) deposits. In contrast, the latter is a hydrothermal system recording the incursion of fluids plausibly expelled from the adjacent Cañete basin. Non-magmatic fluids are inferred to be a prerequisite for economic Cu mineralization in the Cu-rich IOCG deposits in the Central Andes and elsewhere.