Journal of Earth Science

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 95–108 | Cite as

Genesis of Xinzhai Sandstone-Type Copper Deposit in Northern Laos: Geological and Geochemical Evidences

  • Jianguo Huang
  • Tao RenEmail author
  • Haijun Zou


Xinzhai sandstone-type copper deposit located in northern Laos lies in the Jiangcheng-Phongsaly-Phrae Mesozoic basin (JPMB), which is regarded as southern extension of the Lanping-Simao Mesozoic basin in China. The copper deposit belt is bounded by the Ailaoshan-Heishui River fault and the Dian Bien Phu-Luang Prabang fault at the east and Lancang River- Bannankan faults at the west. Two types of orebodies are identified in the Xinzhai area based on geological investigation. One is lamellar copper orebody hosted by the fine lithic feldspar sandstones and feldspar lithic sandstones; another is vein-type orebody. The sulfur isotopic compositions of the chalcopyrite and tetrahedrite are from -11.6‰ to -1.8‰, indicating that sulfur is derived from bacterial sulfate reduction (BSR). δH2O values of fluid inclusions in ore-bearing quartz samples are from -99‰ to -78‰. The calculated \(\delta^{18}\rm{O}_{H_{2}O}\) values of ore-forming fluid vary from -2.3‰ to 0.4‰ using the quartz-water fractionation equations and the mineralization temperature. Oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions show that the ore-forming fluid was derived from basin fluid. Rock-mineral identifications show that both of the mineral grain maturity and the structural maturity are high in the Jurassic Huakaizuo Formation, reflecting a far-source accumulation and lake facies sedimentatary environment. Based on tectonic determination diagram of the Al2O3/SiO2-TFe+MgO, the sandstone samples collected from the Huakaizuo Formation were plotted in the passive continental margin. The collision of the Indian and Eurasian blocks during the Cenozoic formed large-scale strike-slips and thrust nappe structures in margin of the basin. With the tectonic movement, Cu-rich basin fluid from the basement of basin migrated upward along the contemporaneous fault and into the high porosity strata. At the same time, in organic matter-riched condition, bacterial sulfate reduction (BSR) has been triggered, forming a large number of S2- ions, and then precipitation of sulfide started. This mechanism describes the process of copper mineral deposition in the Xinzhai deposit.

Key words

Laos sandstone-type copper deposit geology geochemistry genesis 


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The authors are grateful to the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their useful comments. The manuscript benefited from thoughtful comments by Prof. Xiaoyong Yang of University of Science and Technology of China and Prof. Runsheng Han of Kunming University of Science and Technology. This study was jointly supported by the project of the National Science Foundation of China (No. 41663006) and the innovation team of KMUST ore-forming dynamics and prediction of concealed deposits (2008). The final publication is available at Springer via

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© China University of Geosciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Land Resources EngineeringKunming University of Science and TechnologyKunmingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Ore Deposit Geochemistry, Institute of GeochemistryChinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina

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