Spatial and Temporal Variations of Archaean Metallogenic Associations in Terms of Evolution of Granitoid-Greenstone Terrains with Particular Emphasis on the Western Australian Shield

  • D. I. Groves
  • W. D. Batt


There is marked spatial and temporal heterogeneity in diversity and intensity of metallogenic associations in Archaean greenstone belts. On the greenstone basin scale, parameters such as intensity of faulting, rapidity of burial, water depth and extent of irruption of komatiitic and felsic magma appear to have controlled the nature and intensity of mineralization. These inter-related parameters apparently depend on the degree of extension during basin development.

Initial development of both older (3.5 - 3.3 Ga) and younger (3.0 to 2.7 Ga) volcanic repositories appears to have occurred on platforms or in shallow basins with zero or negative marginal relief, probably under conditions of low extension. Older platform-phase greenstones formed in very shallow water and the metallogenic associations, including evaporative barite, small Pb-and sulphaterich volcanogenic massive sulphides and porphyry-style Mo-Cu deposits, reflect the shallow marine to subaerial environments. Younger platform-phase green-stones formed in deeper water basins and have more conventional metallogenic associations, but the volcanogenic massive sulphides, komatiite-associated Ni-Cu deposits and gold mineralization are normally spatially restricted, and the greenstones have a relatively low intensity of mineralization.

Greenstone metallogenesis peaked in the late Archaean (2.8 - 2.7 Ga) in association with the development of major linear rift zones, probably related to increased extension and crustal thinning. Overlap of magmatic, volcanogenic and metamorphogenic mineralization resulted from the eruption of thick sequences of volcanics, including komatiites and felsic rocks, into rapidly subsiding deep water troughs and subsequent metamorphism and deformation of these sequences. The rift phase of greenstone basin development may be represented in the older terrains by more limited, dominantly sediment-filled grabens which are poorly mineralized relative to younger rift zones. This appears the major reason for the temporal contrast in intensity of mineralization, whereas temporal contrasts in the nature of metallogenic associations relate largely to the anomalous, very shallow-water environments at the platform stage in the older greenstone basins.


Gold Deposit Greenstone Belt Contrib Mineral Petrol Versus Versus Versus Versus Versus Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. I. Groves
  • W. D. Batt
    • 1
  1. 1.Geology DepartmentUniversity of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia

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