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Andean geology

versión On-line ISSN 0718-7106

Resumen

MAKSAEV, Víctor et al. Geochronological and thermochronological constraints on porphyry copper mineralization in the Domeyko alteration zone, northern Chile. AndGeo [online]. 2010, vol.37, n.1, pp.144-176. ISSN 0718-7106.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-71062010000100007.

At Domeyko, 40 km south of Vallenar in northern Chile (28°57'S-70°53'W), the Dos Amigos and Tricolor porphyry copper centers are located within a north-south-elongated hydrothermal alteration zone 6x1.5 km of surface dimensions. The centers are related to tonalite to granodiorite porphyry stocks displaying potassic alteration, which are surrounded by Lower Cretaceous andesitic volcanic rocks with sericitic, kaolinite-illite and propylitic alteration zones. The western boundary of the alteration zone is marked by the post-mineralization Cachiyuyo Batholith of granodioritic to dioritic composition. U-Pb zircon ages for the Dos Amigos porphyry are of 106.Ü3.5 and 104.0±3.5 Ma; and 108.5±3.4 for the nearby Tricolor porphyry. The Cachiyuyo Batholith yielded U-Pb zircon ages of 99.6±1.8 and 99.1±1.9 Ma; and 40Ar/39Ar ages for biotite of 96.9±3.9 and 94.8±0.9 Ma. These dates indicate that batholith emplacement postdated the Dos Amigos and Tricolor porphyries, in agreement with geological relationships. Although copper mineralization is spatially and genetically related to the Lower Cretaceous (Albian) porphyry stocks, most of the dated hydrothermal micas from the Dos Amigos and Tricolor porphyries yielded 40Ar/39Ar ages between 97.1±2.5 and 96.0±1.4 Ma, which overlap within error with the cooling ages obtained for the neighboring batholith. 40Ar/39Ar dating of micas revealed significant disturbance of their K-Ar isotopic systematics that complicates accurate determination of the timing of hydrothermal activity at Domeyko. Nevertheless, the 40Ar/39Ar data establish a minimum Late Cretaceous age for this activity. A fission track age of 59.8±9.8 Ma of apatite from the Dos Amigos porphyry indicates cooling through the temperature range of the apatite partial annealing zone (~125-60°C) during the Paleocene; and an (U-Th)/He age of 44.7±3.7 Ma of apatite from the same porphyry sample shows cooling through the temperature range of the apatite He partial retention zone (~85-40°C) during the Eocene. These ages correspond to the exhumation of the porphyry, and the latter provides a maximum age for the supergene enrichment processes that formed the chalcocite blanket currently mined at Dos Amigos.

Palabras clave : Porphyry copper; Andes; Chile; Geochronology; Thermochronology Coastal Cordillera.

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