Zircon (U-Th)/He thermochronometric constraints on the mineralization of the giant Xikuangshan Sb deposit in central Hunan, South China

Abstract

The Xikuangshan Sb deposit in central Hunan, South China is the largest Sb deposit in the world, which has supplied more than 50% of the world’s Sb and with total Sb metal reserves of about 2.5 Mt. However, the age of this deposit is still not well constrained due to a lack of suitable minerals for reliable radiometric dating, which hampered the generation of a generally accepted genetic model of mineralization. Since the fluid-inclusion data suggest that the temperature of ore-forming fluids in the Xikuangshan deposit is up to 360 °C, zircon (U-Th)/He thermochronometry with the closure temperature of 160–200 °C was chosen here to elucidate the age of Sb mineralization. Detrital zircons in the altered host rocks from the Xikuangshan deposit yielded two (U-Th)/He age populations of 156–117 and 97–86 Ma. The older age population (156–117 Ma), which is well in accordance with previous Sm-Nd dating on hydrothermal calcite (156–124 Ma), probably represents the timing of main-stage Sb mineralization in the Xikuangshan Sb deposit, while the younger zircon (U-Th)/He ages may result from partial loss of He in zircon caused by the distal effect of deep-seated intrusions beneath the deposit. This study demonstrates that the (U-Th)/He dating of zircon in altered host rocks can be viable for constraining the timing of low-temperature mineralization.

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Acknowledgments

This work was financially supported by the projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41830432, 41703044, and U1812402), the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFC0600503), the West Light Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Y7CR022000), and the National 973 Project of China (2014CB440906). Dongsheng Ma, Bernd Lehmann, and an anonymous reviewer are greatly thanked for their insightful and constructive comments. We thank the John de Laeter Centre at Curtin University for access to the Low Temperature Thermochronology Facility. Shanling Fu is funded by China Council Scholarship.

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Fu, S., Hu, R., Batt, G.E. et al. Zircon (U-Th)/He thermochronometric constraints on the mineralization of the giant Xikuangshan Sb deposit in central Hunan, South China. Miner Deposita 55, 901–912 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00126-019-00906-3

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Keywords

  • Xikuangshan Sb deposit
  • Zircon (U-Th)/He thermochronology
  • Sb mineralization age
  • Central Hunan, China