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Sulfide geochemistry and genesis of Chouichia and Ain el Bey copper deposits in northwestern Tunisia

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Abstract

The Chouichia and Ain el Bey copper veins that occur in the Eastern Atlas fold belt in northwestern Tunisia, are hosted in Upper Cretaceous-Paleogene sedimentary sequences in a regional transcurrent shear zone. Paragenetic assemblages were formed during four distinct stages all of which are separated by fracturing and brecciation: Stage 1 consists of low temperature siderite (160–180 °C) formation in association with pyrite, including framboidal pyrite and marcasite. Stage 2 includes pseudomorphing of marcasite by As-rich pyrite and arsenopyrite, and formation of chalcopyrite at higher temperatures (200–300 °C) from S-rich, Fe-Cu-bearing fluids; As contents in individual pyrite and arsenopyrite crystals increase markedly in the rims relative to the centers, thus indicating non-equilibrium conditions. Stage 3 involves fracturing and brecciation predating deposition of enargite, luzonite and tennantite at Ain el Bey, and famatinite and tetrahedrite at Chouichia, from As-Sb-Bi-bearing oreforming fluids; tennantite-tetrahedrite series exhibit iron and copper-excess replacements in tetrahedral sites interrelated with Cu-Fe interactions (electron transfer). In Stage 4 fracturing was followed by calcite formation in voids. Comprehensive data was obtained from scanning electron microprobe (SEM) and microprobe chemical analyses of minerals, geothermometry using sulfur isotopes, As contents in arsenopyrite crystals and fluid inclusions in siderite and calcite, support an input of magmatic hydrothermal ore-forming fluids, although contamination by sedimentary sulfur were also identified.

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Slim-Shimi, N., Moëlo, Y., Tlig, S. et al. Sulfide geochemistry and genesis of Chouichia and Ain el Bey copper deposits in northwestern Tunisia. Mineral. Deposita 31, 188–200 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00204026

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Keywords

  • Calcite
  • Pyrite
  • Fluid Inclusion
  • Sulfur Isotope
  • Framboidal Pyrite