Structural, Mineralogical and Geochronological Constraints of the Miguel Auza Intermediate-Sulfidation Ag-rich Polymetallic Mineralization Deposit, Zacatecas, Mexico
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The Miguel Auza mine, located in Zacatecas State, Mexico, is a vein-type polymetallic epithermal deposit hosted in deformed argillite, siltstone and greywacke of the Cretaceous Caracol Formation. Silver-rich base metal veins (0.2 m to >1.5 m wide) are spatially associated with NE-striking, steeply SE- dipping (70-80º) faults over a strike length of 1.6 km and a depth of 460 m. Three distinct structural stages are correlated with hydrothermal mineral deposition: Stage I is characterized by normal faulting and early hypogene alteration of the sedimentary rock. Stage II is associated with reverse-sense reactivation of early normal faults, dilation of bedding planes/fractures, and deposition of barren calcite + pyrite veinlets. Sub-stages IIA and IIB are related to the development of reverse-fault-hosted quartz-carbonate sulphide veins and characterize the main stage of mineralization. Associated hydrothermal minerals during the main stage of mineral deposition are quartz, muscovite, and calcite. Stage III involves late NW-SE striking block faulting, brecciation and calcite veining. Later supergene oxidation of veins led to deposition of Fe-oxides and hydroxides. The main Ag-bearing minerals comprise pyrargyrite, tetrahedrite- freibergite, polybasite-antimonpearceite, and acanthite, with associated sulphides including galena, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite and pyrite. In the main ore zone, base metal sulphides are commonly intergrown with the Ag-bearing sulfosalts. Compositions of Ag-rich tetrahedrite + pyrargyrite + sphalerite indicate a primary depositional temperature around 325-350ºC for the late phase of sub-stage IIB. 40Ar/39Ar dating of wall-rock illite associated with stage I alteration yields an age of 46.58 ± 0.30 Ma. Ages of 46.01 ± 0.55 Ma, and 44.55 ± 0.22 Ma were obtained for vein muscovite related to the main stage (sub-stage IIB) of ore deposition. These ages correspond to the later stage of the Laramide orogeny in Northern Mexico. The geometric relationship between the various structures, vein types, and the regional Miguel Auza fault zone suggest episodic reverse-sense reactivation of normal faults. Based on (1) the tectonic setting, (2) spatially related igneous rocks, (3) ore and gangue mineralogy, and textures (4) geochemical signature, and (5) inferred temperature of formation, the Miguel Auza deposit is interpreted to be an intermediate-sulfidation type deposit.