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Origin and deposition of a graphitic schist-hosted metamorphogenic Au-W deposit, Macraes, East Otago, New Zealand

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The Macraes gold-tungsten deposit occurs in a low-angle thrust system in biotite grade Otago Schist. Native gold, scheelite, pyrite and arsenopyrite are found in and adjacent to quartz veins and silicified schist of lenticular reef zones, where the thrust system cuts through graphitic pelitic schist. Mineralization is confined to a shear zone, up to 80 m thick, which is closely sub-parallel to the regional schistosity. Chemical alteration is dominated by silicification, with some addition of Cr and depletion of Sr and Ba. Alteration extends only about 5 m from major veins. Oxygen becomes isotopically heavier away from veins due to temperature decrease as hot fluids penetrated into cooler (250°C?) rock. Graphite within the shear zone rocks has reflectance of 6–7% (in oil), similar to graphite in medium-high grade Otago Schist, and is presumed to be metamorphic in origin. This graphite has acted as a reducing agent to cause precipitation of gold where the thrust system, acting as a conduit for metamorphic fluids, intersects the graphitic schist. The metals were derived from the underlying schist pile which may include an over-thrust oceanic assemblage containing metal-enriched horizons.

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McKeag, S.A., Craw, D. & Norris, R.J. Origin and deposition of a graphitic schist-hosted metamorphogenic Au-W deposit, Macraes, East Otago, New Zealand. Mineral. Deposita 24, 124–131 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00206316

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  • Gold
  • Graphite
  • Pyrite
  • Shear Zone
  • Temperature Decrease