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Geologische Rundschau

, Volume 59, Issue 3, pp 834–897 | Cite as

Metallogenic provinces in South America

  • Ulrich Petersen
Aufsätze

Abstract

This paper discusses the broadscale distribution of some ore deposit types in South America, trying to discern possible relations with major geotectonic features. It does not cover all ore deposits but rather a selection based on available information, genetic types, geographic distribution, and a representation of deposit types which are either abundant or very rare in South America. Included are porphyry copper, zoned copper-zinc-lead-silver, contact-metasomatic, red-bed copper-uranium-vanadium, lead-zinc (including Mississippi Valley type), mercury, tin, pegmatite, carbonatite and alkalic complex, diamond, nickelcobalt-chromite-asbestos-talc, iron, bauxite, tungsten, titanium, uranium, gold, potash and phosphate deposits.

Comparisons are made with the distribution of these deposit types in other continents, especially in North America and Africa. This leads to some speculations bearing on theories of ore genesis. The evidence suggests that upper crustal processes predominate in the formation of the majority of ore deposits considered (excepting carbonatites, alkalic complexes and diamond pipes). Also, the relative level of an orogenic belt exposed by erosion seems to be an important factor bearing on the presently known distribution of many ore deposit types. Furthermore, the fact that ore deposits of given types tend to be aligned along the Cordillera in more or less defined belts with changing chemical composition accross the Andes, which partake in all its inflections, and in patterns which are similar in North and South America, indicates that they are either dependent on the distribution of eugeosynclinal vs miogeosynclinal sediments in the original geosynclinal prism, or that their character is related to distance from the major batholitic masses or to shallow stocks and volcanic activity. The indicated correlation with sediment character and evaporites speaks in favor of modem concepts viewing hydrothermal fluids as mainly meteoric but heated and circulated largely by igneous activity. This study raises more questions than it can answer and calls attention to a number of problems requiring further research.

From a practical point of view, this investigation reveals several possibilities for future exploration, as well as opportunities for further development of mineral resources in South America. Several countries could probably improve or diversify their mineral production significantly, thus raising the standard of living of their increasing population. Whereas in North America both Canada and the U.S.A. span from east to west the whole range of geological environments, from cratonic to geosynclinal and orogenic, in South America the distribución of countries is essentially either along the Cordillera or over shield areas, a fact of obvious geopolitical implications with regard to mineral resources.

Keywords

Evaporite Porphyry Copper Deposit Type Mercurio Metallogenic Province 

Zusammenfassung

Diese Arbeit beschreibt die allgemeine Verteilung einiger Erzlagerstättentypen in Südamerika und untersucht ihren Zusammenhang mit großtektonischen Einheiten. Sie betrifft nur eine Auswahl von Lagerstätten, für die es genügend Daten gibt und die uns einen Überblick gestatten über verschiedene genetische Typen, aber auch zugleich eine gute geographische Verteilung haben und es ermöglichen, Lagerstätten zu studieren, die entweder häufig oder spärlich in Südamerika vorkommen. Inbegriffen sind Porphyry Copper, zonierte Kupfer-Zink-Blei-Silber, kontakt-metasomatische, Red-bed Kupfer-Uran-Vanadium, Blei-Zink (einschließlich Mississippi-Valley-Typ), Quecksilber, Zinn, pegmatitische, karbonatitische, Diamant, Nickel-Kobalt-Chromit-Asbestos-Talk, Eisen, Bauxit, Wolfram, Titan, Uran, Gold, Kali und Phosphat-Lagerstätten.

Die Verteilung dieser Lagerstätten wird mit der in anderen Kontinenten verglichen, speziell in Nordamerika und Afrika. Daraus ergeben sich allgemeine Gedanken über Lagerstättengenetik. Die meisten hier beschriebenen Lagerstätten werden hauptsächlich durch Prozesse in der oberen Erdkruste bedingt (mit Ausnahme von den Karbonatiten, Alkalischen Komplexen und Diamantschloten). Weiterhin spielt die relative Tiefe, bis zu der ein Orogen abgetragen worden ist, eine wichtige Rolle in der Verteilung der heute bekannten Erzlagerstättentypen. Die Beobachtung, daß bestimmte Lagerstättentypen in engen, aber langen Streifen entlang der Anden verteilt sind und die Richtungsänderungen der Kordillere mitmachen, sich ihre chemische Zusammensetzung quer der tektonischen Richtung ändert und die Verhältnisse in Nord- und Südamerika ähnlich sind, deutet darauf hin, daß sie durch die Verteilung von Eugeosynklinalen und Miogeosynklinalen bedingt sind oder ihre Entfernung von batholitischen Komplexen bzw. sub-vulkanischen Stocks und Vulkanen, maßgebend ist. Ihr anscheinender Zusammenhang mit Sedimentcharakter und Gips/Anhydrit-Folgen spricht für die modernen Anschauungen, daß hydrothermale Lösungen hauptsächlich meteorische Grundwasser sind, die durch eruptive Massen aufgeheizt und bewegt werden. Wie es oft der Fall ist, hat dieses Studium mehr Fragen als Antworten geliefert, und es ergeben sich mehrere Probleme, die weiterer Untersuchung bedürfen.

Nach der praktischen Seite hin deutet diese Arbeit auf mehrere Möglichkeiten für zukünftige Prospektionen und für die weitere Entwicklung von natürlichen Vorräten in Südamerika. Mehrere Länder könnten wahrscheinlich ihre Erzproduktion erhöhen oder mannigfaltiger gestalten und damit den Lebensstandard ihrer zunehmenden Bevölkerung bessern. Während in Nordamerika sowohl Kanada wie die USA den Kontinent von der Ostküste bis zur Westküste umfassen und dadurch einen weiten Bereich geologischer Bedingungen einschließen (kratonische, geosynklinale und orogenische Zustände), liegen in Südamerika die Länder entweder entlang der Anden oder hauptsächlich im kratonischen Bereich. Dieser Unterschied hat natürlich wichtige geopolitische Auswirkungen betreffs Erzvorräten.

Resumen

El presente artículo describe la distribución a grán escala de algunos tipos de yacimientos minerales en América del Sur, tratando de discernir su posible relación con las principales unidades geotectónicas. Se trata solo de una selección de yacimientos para los cuales disponemos de suficiente información, escogidos de manera de tener una buena representación de diferentes tipos genéticos y una distribución geográfica adecuada, teniendo además cuidado de incluir por un lado yacimientos que parecen abundar en Sud América y por otro lado tipos de depósitos que parecen escasear en esta parte del mundo. Se incluyen yacimientos del tipo diseminado de cobre, zoneados de cobrezinc-plomo-plata, metasomáticos de contacta, cobre-uranio-vanadio en capas rojas, plomo-zinc (incluyendo el tipo Mississippi Valley), mercurio, estaño, pegmatitas, carbonatitas y complejos alcalinos, diamantes, niquel-cobalto-cromita-asbesto-talco, fierro, bauxita, tungsteno, titanio, uranio, oro, potasio y fosfatos.

Se hacen comparaciones con la distribución de éstos tipos de depósitos en otros continentes, especialmente en Norte América y Africa. Esto conduce a algunas especulaciones fundamentales referentes a la génesis de yacimientos minerales. La evidencia sugiere que la mayoría de los yacimientos considerados (con excepción de las carbonatitas, los complejos alcalinos y las chimeneas de diamantes) deben su formation principalmente a procesos que tuvieron lugar en la parte superior de la corteza terrestre. Más aún, parece que uno de los principales factores que afecta la distribución conocida de los diferentes tipos de depósitos es el nivel hasta el cual la erosión ha denudado una cadena de montañas. Finalmente, observamos que diversos tipos de yacimientos están distribuídos en franjas a lo largo de la Cordillera (participando en todos sus cambios de dirección), que su carácter quimico varia de Este a Oeste y que las relaciones entre éstas franjas son similares entre Norte y Sud América. Esto indica que dependen de la distribución relativa de sedimentos eugeosinclinales versus miogeosinclinales dentro del prisma geosinclinal o que su naturaleza depende de su distancia de los principales complejos batolíticos o su relación con stocks cercanos a la superficie y centros volcánicos. La correlación que se sugiere con respecto a carácter general de los sedimentos circundantes y con evaporitas sería un argumento en favor de las teorías modernas que consideran que las soluciones hidrotermales son predominantemente aguas meteóricas calentadas y puestas en circulación por actividad ígnea. Como ocurre a menudo, éste estudio revela más interrogantes que las respuestas que dá y llama la atención a varios problemas que requieren mayor investigación.

Desde el punto de vista práctico el presente trabajo revela varias posibilidades para exploraciones futuras, así como oportunidades para un mayor desarrollo de los recursos minerales de Sud América. Probablemente varios países podrían aumentar o diversificar considerablemente su producción minera, levantando así el nivel de vida de su creciente problación. Mientras que en la América del Norte tanto el Canada como los E.E.U.U. de Norteamérica van de costa a costa abarcando con ello una grán variedad de ambientes geológicos (desde cratónicos hasta geosinclinales y orogénicos), en Sud América los países están distribuídos principalmente a lo largo de los Andes o sobre los escudos antiguos. Este último hecho tiene consecuencias importantes desde el punto de vista geopolítico en lo que se refiere a recursos minerales.

Краткое содержание

Описаны отдельные ти пы рудных месторожде ний Южной Америки и рассмативается воз можная связь их с боль шими тектоническими структурными единиц ами. Напр.: Porphyry — Copper, месторо ждения меди, цинка, свинца, сер ебра, контактно-метасомат ические месторожден ия, типа “red bed” с медью, урано м и ванадием, свинцовоцинковые (типа Valley, Миссиссиппи), рт ути, пегматитов, карбо натов, никель-хромит-кобаль т-асбесто-тальковые, о ловянные, железнорудные и бокситовые. Эти рудн ые месторождения сра внили с месторождениями Северной Америки и Аф рики, и высказали неко торые соображения о происхождении рудн ых залежей вообще. Уст ановлено, что известные типы залежей распред елены узкими длинным и полосами вдоль Анд, что их простирание те сно связано с Кордиль ерами, и что соотношения в Северной Америке и в Южной Америке подобн ы. Все этот указывает на то, что эти рудные ме сторождения образов ались в евгеосинклинальных и миогеосинклинальн ых осадочных породах, или что при образовании их ведущую роль играл о их удаление от батол итовых комплексов, или субвулканически х кратеров. Наблюдаем ая связь их с характером осадочных пород и сло ями гипса-ангидрида подтверждает соврем енную точку зрения о том, что гидротермальные рас творы пополняют свою грунтовую воду дожде вой водой. — Это исслед ование выдвинуло больше проблем, чем да ло ответов. — Эта работ а имеет практическое значение, открывая во зможность для будущи х разведочных работ в Южной Америке и в друг их частях Земного шар а.

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Copyright information

© Ferdinand Enke Verlag Stuttgart 1969

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich Petersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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