Paragenesis of gold- and hydrocarbon-bearing fluids in gold deposits

  • John Parnell
  • Alistair McCready


The occurrence of solid oil residues (bitumens sensu lato) in ore deposits is widely documented (e.g. Parnell, 1988; Dean, 1986). Gold also occurs in association with other types of concentrated organic material, such as in kerogen-rich black shales (Wilson and Rucklidge, 1987), humus-rich soil and peats (Wilson, 1984; Gregoire, 1985), cyanobacterial mats (Dissanayake and Kritsotakis, 1984) and other living tissues (Beveridge and Murray, 1980). Because this association is so frequently encountered numerous inferences have been made that the organic matter played an important role in ore deposition, i.e. they are believed to have been involved in a causal, genetic manner. Potential involvement could include the facilitation of metal transport through the formation of organo-metallic complexes or the provision of a reductant to cause metal precipitation. It is important, however, that such suggestions should take proper account of the paragenetic relationship between organic matter and the inorganic mineral phases. The paragenetic relationships will constrain the possible role of bitumen in ore mineralization, as well as any information which might be deduced from the thermal maturity of the bitumen as to conditions pertaining during mineralization. The roles played by hydrocarbons whose presence can be proved before mineralization are different to the roles played by hydrocarbons which were not emplaced until after mineralization. Data inferred about the physico-chemical environment from post-ore bitumen could be highly misleading if applied to the conditions during mineralization: at best they might constrain the minimum temperature experienced by the ore minerals.


Fluid Inclusion Gold Deposit Gold Mineralization Carbonaceous Matter Paragenetic Sequence 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

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  • John Parnell
  • Alistair McCready

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