Pre-Eruptive Conditions of the Hideaway Park Topaz Rhyolite: Insights into Metal Source and Evolution of Magma Parental to the Henderson Porphyry Molybdenum Deposit, Colorado

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Abstract

The Hideaway Park tuff is the only preserved extrusive volcanic unit related to the Red Mountain intrusive complex, which produced the world-class Henderson porphyry Mo deposit. Located within the Colorado Mineral Belt, USA, Henderson is the second largest Climax-type Mo deposit in the world, and is therefore an excellent location to investigate magmatic processes leading to Climax-type Mo mineralization. We combine an extensive dataset of major element, volatile, and trace element abundances in quartz-hosted melt inclusions and pumice matrix glass with major element geochemistry from phenocrysts to reconstruct the pre-eruptive conditions and the source and evolution of metals within the magma. Melt inclusions are slightly peraluminous topaz rhyolitic in composition and are volatile-charged (≤6 wt % H2O, ≤600 ppm CO2, ∼0·3–1·0 wt % F, ∼2300–3500 ppm Cl) and metal-rich (∼7–24 ppm Mo, ∼4–14 ppm W, ∼21–52 ppm Pb, ∼28–2700 ppm Zn, <0·1–29 ppm Cu, ∼0·3–1·8 ppm Bi, ∼40–760 ppb Ag, ∼690–1400 ppm Mn). Melt inclusion and pumice matrix glass chemistry reveal that the Hideaway Park magma evolved by large degrees of fractional crystallization (≤60–70%) during quartz crystallization and melt inclusion entrapment at pressures of ≤300 MPa (≤8 km depth), with little to no crystallization upon shallow ascent and eruption. Filter pressing, crystal settling, magma recharge and mixing of less evolved rhyolite melt, and volatile exsolution were important processes during magma evolution; the low estimated viscosities (∼105–1010 Pa s) of these H2O- and F-rich melts probably enhanced these processes. A noteworthy discrepancy between the metal contents in the pumice matrix glass and in the melt inclusions suggests that after quartz crystallization ceased upon shallow magma ascent and eruption, the Hideaway Park magma exsolved an aqueous fluid into which Mo, Bi, Ag, Zn, Mn, Cs, and Y strongly partitioned. Given that the Henderson deposit contains anomalous abundances of not only Mo, but also W, Pb, Zn, Cu, Bi, Ag, and Mn, we suggest that these metals were sourced from similar fluids exsolved from unerupted portions of the same magmatic system. Trace element ratios imply that Mo was sourced deep, from either the lower crust or metasomatized mantle. The origin of sulfur remains unresolved; however, given the extremely low S solubility of rhyolite melts in the shallow crust we favor the possibility that another source of S might supplement or account for that present in the ore deposit, probably the comagmatic, mantle-derived lamprophyres that occur in minor quantities with the voluminous topaz rhyolites in the area. To account for the 437 Mt of MoS2 (∼1·0 × 106 t Mo) present in the Henderson ore deposit, a volume of ∼45 km3 of Hideaway Park rhyolite magma would have been necessary to supply the Mo (a cylindrical pluton measuring 3·1 km × 6·0 km) along with sparging of ∼6·8 × 105 t of S from ∼0·05 km3 of lamprophyre magma. Based on a weighted mean 40Ar/39Ar age of 27·58 ± 0·24 Ma, similar melt geochemistry, and characteristically F-rich biotite phenocrysts, we conclude that the Hideaway Park tuff was cogenetic with the intrusions at Red Mountain that formed the Henderson deposit.

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