Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 53, Issue 3, pp 399–416 | Cite as

Uranium-lead dating of hydrothermal zircon and monazite from the Sin Quyen Fe-Cu-REE-Au-(U) deposit, northwestern Vietnam

  • Xiao-Chun Li
  • Mei-Fu Zhou
  • Wei Terry Chen
  • Xin-Fu Zhao
  • MyDung Tran


The Sin Quyen deposit in northwestern Vietnam contains economic concentrations of Cu, Au and LREE, and sub-economic concentration of U. In this deposit, massive and banded replacement ores are hosted in Neoproterozoic metapelite. The paragenetic sequence includes sodic alteration (stage I), calcic-potassic alteration and associated Fe-REE-(U) mineralization (stage II), Cu-Au mineralization (stage III), and sulfide-(quartz-carbonate) veins (stage IV). The Sin Quyen deposit experienced an extensive post-ore metamorphic overprint, which makes it difficult to precisely determine the mineralization age. In this study, zircon and monazite U-Pb geochronometers and the Rb-Sr isochron method are used to constrain the timing of mineralization. Zircon grains in the ore are closely intergrown or texturally associated with hydrothermal minerals of stage II (e.g., garnet, allanite, and hedenbergite). They may contain primary fluid inclusions and display irregular zoning in cathodoluminescence (CL) images. Zircon grains are rich in U (688 to 2902 ppm) and poor in Th (0.2 to 2.9 ppm). Their δ18OV-SMOW values range from 11.9 to 14.0‰, higher than those of typical magmatic zircon. These textural and compositional features imply that zircon precipitated from 18O- and U-rich hydrothermal fluids, coeval with the minerals of stage II. Monazite occurs in close association with stage II magnetite and allanite and has low contents of Th (<2700 ppm), indicative of a hydrothermal origin. Hydrothermal zircon and monazite have indistinguishable U-Pb ages of 841 ± 12 and 836 ± 18 Ma, respectively, representing the timing of Fe-REE mineralization. There is no direct isotopic constraint on the timing of the Cu-Au mineralization, but geological observations suggest that the Cu-Au and Fe-REE ores most likely formed within a single evolved hydrothermal process. In the plot of 87Rb/86Sr vs. 87Sr/86Sr, the composition of bulk-ore and biotite separates from ore lie along a reference line for 30 Ma, which is consistent with the timing of metamorphism in the region. The mineralization age of the Sin Quyen deposit falls within the overall age range (740 to 860 Ma) of the regional Neoproterozoic igneous rocks. This temporal linkage, in combination with the magmatic-like sulfur isotopes of sulfide minerals (δ34SV-CDT = −0.8 to 3.1), indicates that the mineralization may have a close genetic association with the Neoproterozoic igneous activity.



We would like to express our thanks to Mr. Wen Zhao and Prof. Jinhai Yu for their help during the field work. Great thanks are extended to Prof. Julian Pearce and Dr. Jingyuan Chen for their help with the preparation of this paper. Prof. Fernando Corfu is greatly appreciated for his suggestions which substantially improve an early version of this paper. Dr. Martin Smith, Dr. Lin Hou, and an anonymous reviewer are greatly appreciated for their constructive reviews. Prof. Rolf Römer and Prof. G. Beaudoin are gratefully acknowledged for their editorial handling. This study was supported by Key Research Program of Frontier Sciences, CAS (QYZDB-SSW-DQC008), and NSFC grants (41472068, 41673048). MyDung Tran acknowledges support from Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (105.01-2012.06).

Supplementary material

126_2017_746_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (82 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 81 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiao-Chun Li
    • 1
  • Mei-Fu Zhou
    • 1
  • Wei Terry Chen
    • 2
  • Xin-Fu Zhao
    • 3
  • MyDung Tran
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Ore Deposit GeochemistryInstitute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Geological Processes and Mineral Resources, and Faculty of Earth ResourcesChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina
  4. 4.General Department of Geology and Minerals of VietnamHanoiVietnam

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