Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Pyrite deformation in stratiform lead-zinc deposits of the Canadian Cordillera


Pyrite textures in five stratiform lead-zinc deposits from lower to upper greenschist facies environment of the Canadian Cordillera are described and discussed in terms of deposition/early diagenesis, deformation, metamorphism and hydrothermal alteration processes. Overgrowth is an important process during both diagenesis and deformation. Diagenetic and deformational overgrowths can be distinguished. Diffusive mass transfer, involving pressure solution and oriented overgrowth of pyrite is the main deformation mechanism in pyrite deposits at low metamorphic grades. Although diffusive mass transfer favours fine-grained mineral aggregates, its effect on coarse pyrite grains has also been identified. Ore minerals dissolved by pressure solution may be transported, with the assistance of pore fluids within fractures and grain boundaries, over distances significantly greater than the scale of individual grains to give a range of pressure solution/overgrowth textures. The textural modification of pyritic ores from the early stages of diagnesis, through metamorphism and deformation, to post deformation thermal annealing, has important implications for the distribution of trace elements and isotopic compositions in pyritic ores.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Abbot, J.G., Gordey, S.P., Tempelman-Kluit, D.J. (1987) Setting of stratiform, sediment-hosted lead-zinc deposits in Yukon and northeastern British Columbia. In: Morin J.A. (ed.), Mineral Deposits of Northern Cordillera. Can. Inst. Min. Metall., Spec. Vol., 37:1–18

  2. Aldridge, R.J., Armstrong, H.A. (1981) Spherical phosphatic microfossils from the Silurian of North Greenland. Nature (London) 292:531–533

  3. Atkinson, B.K. (1975) Experimental deformation of polycrystalline pyrite: Effects of temperature, confining pressure, strain rate and porosity. Econ. Geol. 70:473–487

  4. Barker, A.J. (1990) Introduction to metamorphic textures and microstructures. Blackie and Sons, 133 pp (1983)

  5. Bassoullet, J.P. (1983) Udoteaceae algae from the Palaeozoic to the Cenozoic. Bull. Centres Rech. Explor. Elf-Aquitaine 7, 2:451–621

  6. Carne, R.C., Cathro, R.J. (1982) Sedimentary exhalative (SEDEX) zinc-lead-silver deposits, northern Canadian Cordillera. Can. Inst. Min. Metall., 75:66–78

  7. Correns, C.W. (1949) Growth and dissolution of crystals under linear pressure. Discussion of the Faraday Society, No. 5:267-271

  8. Cox, S.F., Etheridge, M.A., Hobbs, B.E. (1981) The experimental ductile deformation of polycrystalline and single crystal pyrite. Econ. Geol. 76:2105–2117

  9. Cox, S.F. (1987) Flow mechanisms in sulphide minerals. In: Marshall, B., Gilligan, L.B. (eds.), Ore geology reviews. Elsevier., Amsterdam, pp 133–171

  10. Craig, H.B.L. (1981) Mineralogy and textures of the Lahanos and Kizilkaya massive sulphide deposits, Northeastern Turkey, and their Similarity to Kuroko Ores. Mineral. Deposita 16:241–257

  11. Craig, J.R. Vaughan, D.J. (1981) Ore microscopy and ore petrology. John Wiley and Sons, 406 pp

  12. Couderc, J.-J., Bras, J., Fagot, M., Levade, C. (1980) Etude par microscopie electronique en transmission de letat de deformation de pyrites de differentes provenances. Bull. Minera. 103:547–557

  13. Durney, D.W., Ramsay, J.G. (1973) Incremental strains measured by syntectonic crystal growths. In: DeJong, K.A., Scholten (eds.) Gravity and tectonics. Wiley-Interscience, New York, pp 67–96

  14. Elliot, G.F. (1968) Permian to Palaeocene calcareous algae of the Middle East. Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. Hist., (Geol.) Suppl. 4:6–111

  15. Goodfellow, W.D., Jonasson, I.R. (1987) Environment of formation of the Howards Pass (XY) Zn-Pb deposit, Selwyn Basin, Yukon. In: Morin, J.A. (ed.), Mineral deposits of Northern Cordillera. Can. Inst. Min. Metall., Spec. Vol., 37:19–50

  16. Graf, J.L., Jr., Skinner, B., Jr., (1970) Strength and deformation of pyrite and pyrrhotite. Econ. Geol. 65:206–215

  17. Graf, J.L., Jr., Bras, J., Fagot, M., Levade, C., Couderc, J.-J. (1981) Transmission electron microscopic observation of plastic deformation in experimentally deformed pyrite. Econ. Geol. 76:738–744

  18. Gratier, J.P., Guiget, R. (1986) Experimental pressure solution on quartz grains: the crucial effect of the nature of the fluid. J. Struct. Geol. 8, 845–856

  19. Hamilton, J.M., Delaney, G.D., Hauser, R.L., Ransom, P.W. (1983) Geology of the Sullivan deposit, Kimberley, B.C., Canada. In: Sangster, D.F. (ed), Sediment-hosted stratiform lead-zinc deposits Min. Assoc. Can., Short Course Handbook, 8:31–83

  20. Heald, M.T. (1955) Stylolites in sandstones. J. Geol. 63:101

  21. Jennings, D.S., Jilson, G.A. (1987) Geology and sulphide deposits of Anvil Range, Yukon. In: Morin J.A. (ed.) Mineral deposits of the Northern Cordillera. Can. Inst. Min. Metall., Spec. Vol. 37:319–361

  22. Jonasson, I.R., Goodfellow, W.D. (1987) Sedimentary and diagenetic textures, and deformation structures within the sulphide zone of the Howards Pass (XY) Zn-Pb deposit, Yukon and Northwest Territories. In: Morin J.A. (ed.), Mineral Deposits of Northern Cordillera. Can. Inst. Min. Metall., Spec. Vol. 37:51–99

  23. Large, R.R. (1977) Chemical evolution and zonation of massive sulphide deposits in volcanic terrains. Econ. Geol. 72:549–572

  24. Lehner, F.K. (1990) Thermodynamics of rock deformation by pressure solution. In: Barber D.J., Meredith, P.G. (eds.) Deformation processes in minerals, ceramics and rocks. Unwin Hyman pp. 296–333

  25. Massaad, M. (1974) Framboidal pyrite in concretions. Mineral. Deposita 5:237–247

  26. Marshall, B., Gilligan, L.B. (1987) An introduction to remobilisation from ore-body geometry and experimental considerations. In: Marshall, B., Gilligan, L.B. (ed.) Ore geology reviews. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 87–131

  27. McClay, K.R. (1977a) Pressure solution and Coble creep in rocks and minerals: a review. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 134:57–70

  28. McClay, K.R. (1977b) Pressure solution and Coble creep in rocks. J. Geol. Soc. Lond. 134:71–75

  29. McClay, K.R. (1983 a) Structural Evolution of the Sullivan Fe-Pb-Zn-Ag orebody, Kimberley, British Columbia, Canada. Econ. Geol. 78:1398–1424

  30. McClay, K.R. (1983b) Deformation of stratiform lead-zinc deposits. In D.F. Sangster (ed.) Sediment-hosted stratiform leadzinc deposits. Min. Assoc. Canada Short Course Notes, 8, 283–309

  31. McClay, K.R. (1991) Deformation of stratiform Pb-Zn (barite) deposits in the Northern Canadian Cordillera. In: F.M. Vokes (ed.) Ores and metamorphism. Ore geology reviews. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 435–462

  32. McClay, K.R., Bidwell, G.E. (1987) Geology of the Tom deposit, Macmillan Pass, Yukon. In: Morin J. A. (ed.) Mineral deposits of Northern Cordillera. Can. Inst. Min. Metall., Spec. Vol. 37:100–114

  33. McClay, K.R., Ellis, P.G. (1983) Deformation and recrystallization of pyrite. Mineral. Magazine 47:527–538

  34. McClay, K.R., Ellis, P.G. (1984) Deformation of pyrite. Econ. Geol. 79:400–403

  35. Mookherjee, A. (1971) Deformation of pyrite. Econ. Geol. 66:200

  36. Mookherjee, A. (1976) Ores and metamorphism: temporal and genetic relationships. In: Wolf, K.H. (ed.), Handbook of stratebound and stratiform ore deposits. Vol. 4: Tectonics and metamorphism. pp. 203–260

  37. Pedersen, E.D. (1981) Polyphase deformation of the massive sulphide ore of the Black Angel mine, Central West Greenland, Mineral. Deposita 16:157–176

  38. Ramdohr, P. (1980) The ore minerals and their intergrowths, 2nd ed. Pergamon Press, Oxford

  39. Ramsay, J.G., Huber, M.I. (1983) The techniques of modern structural geology, Vol. 1: strain analysis. Academic Press, New York 307 pp

  40. Robertson, E.C., (1955) Experimental study of the strength of rocks. Geol. Soc. America Bull. 66:1275–1314

  41. Rutter, E.H. (1983) Pressure solution in nature, theory and experiment. J. Geol. Soc. 140:725–740

  42. Sarkar, S.C., Bhattacharyya, P.K., Mukherjee, A.D. (1980) Evolution of the sulphide ores of Saladipura, Royasthen, India. Econ. Geol. 75:1152–1167

  43. Sawkins, F.J. (1976) Massive sulphide deposits in relation to geotectonics. In: Strong, D.F. (ed.) Metallogeny and plate tectonics. Spec. Pap. Geol. Ass. Can. 14, pp. 221–240

  44. Sawkins, F.J. (1984) Metal deposits in relation to plate tectonics. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York

  45. Sibson, R.H. (1977) Fault rocks and fault mechanisms. J. Geol. Soc. Lon. 133:191–213

  46. Spiers, C.J., Schutjens, P.M.T.M. (1990) Densification of crystal aggregates by fluid-phase diffusional creep. In: Barber, D.J., Meredith, P.G. (eds.) Deformation processes in minerals, ceramics and rocks. Unwin Hyman, pp. 334–353

  47. Spry, A. (1969) Metamorphic textures. Pergamon Press Oxford, 350 pp

  48. Stanton, R.L. (1972) Ore petrology. McGraw-Hill, New York 713 pp

  49. Sweeney, R.E., Kaplan, I.R. (1973) Pyrite framboidal formation: Laboratory synthesis and marine sediments. Econ. Geol. 68:618–634

  50. Taylor, G.R. (1982) A mechanism for framboid formation as illustrated by a volcanic exhalative sediment. Mineral. Deposita 17:23–26

  51. Thompson, R.I., Mercier, E., Roots, C. (1987) Extension and its influence on Canadian Cordilleran passive-margin evolution. In: Coward, M.P., Dewey, J.F. and Hancock P.L. (eds.) Continental Extensional tectonics. Geol. Soc. London, Spec. Publ. 28:409–417

  52. Vokes, F.M. (1969) A review of the metamorphism of sulphide deposits: Earth-Sci. Rev. 5:99–143

  53. Vokes, F. M. (1971) Some aspects of the regional metamorphic mobilisation of pre-existing sulphide deposits. Mineral. Deposita 6:122–129

  54. Wray, J.L. (1977) Calcareous algae. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 185 pp

  55. Yardley, B.W.D. (1989) An introduction to metamorphic petrology. Longman, London, 248 pp

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lianxing, G., McClay, K.R. Pyrite deformation in stratiform lead-zinc deposits of the Canadian Cordillera. Mineral. Deposita 27, 169–181 (1992).

Download citation


  • Pyrite
  • Diagenesis
  • Pressure Solution
  • Greenschist Facies
  • Diffusive Mass Transfer