Draa Sfar, Morocco: A Visean (331 Ma) pyrrhotite-rich, polymetallic volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit in a Hercynian sediment-dominant terrane

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Marcoux , Eric ; Belkabir , Abdelhay ; Gibson , Harold-H. ; Lentz , David ; Ruffet , Gilles (2008)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2007.03.004
  • Subject: Hercynian | Pyrrhotite | Draa Sfar | Massive sulphide deposit | Morocco | [ SDU.STU.MI ] Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Mineralogy

International audience; Draa Sfar is a Visean, stratabound, volcanogenic massive sulphide ore deposit hosted by a Hercynian carbonaceous, black shale-rich succession of the Jebilet terrane, Morocco. The ore deposit contains 10 Mt grading 5.3 wt.% Zn, 2 wt.% Pb, and 0.3 wt.% Cu within two main massive sulphides orebodies, Tazakourt (Zn-rich) and Sidi M'Barek (Zn–Cu rich). Pyrrhotite is by far the dominant sulphide (70 to 95% of total sulphides), sphalerite is fairly abundant, chalcopyrite and galena are accessory, pyrite, arsenopyrite and bismuth minerals are rare. Pyrrhotite is monoclinic and mineralogical criteria indicate that it is of primary origin and not formed during metamorphism. Its composition is very homogeneous, close to Fe7S8, and its absolute magnetic susceptibility is 2.10− 3 SI/g. Ar–Ar dating of hydrothermal sericites from a coherent rhyolite flow or dome within the immediate deposit footwall indicates an age of 331.7 ± 7.9 Ma for the Draa Sfar deposit and rhyolite volcanism. The Draa Sfar deposit has undergone a low-grade regional metamorphic event that caused pervasive recrystallization, followed by a ductile–brittle deformation event that has locally imparted a mylonitic texture to the sulphides and, in part, is responsible for the elongated and sheet-like morphology of the sulphide orebodies. Lead isotope data fall into two compositional end-members. The least radiogenic end-member, (206Pb/204Pb = 18.28), is characteristic of the Tazakourt orebody, whereas the more radiogenic end-member (206Pb/204Pb not, vert, similar 18.80) is associated with the Sidi M'Barek orebody, giving a mixing trend between the two end-members. Lead isotope compositions at Draa Sfar testify to a significant continental crust source for the base metals, but are different than those of the Hajar and South Iberian Pyrite Belt VMS deposits. The abundance of pyrrhotite versus pyrite in the orebodies is attributed to low fO2 conditions and neither a high temperature nor a low aH2S (below 10− 3) is required. The highly anoxic conditions required to stabilize pyrrhotite over pyrite are consistent with formation of the deposit within a restricted, sediment-starved, anoxic basin characterized by the deposition of carbonaceous, pelagic sediments along the flank of a rhyolitic flow-dome complex that was buried by pelitic sediments. Deposition of sulphides likely occurred at and below the seafloor within anoxic and carbonaceous muds. Draa Sfar and other Moroccan volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits occur in an epicontinental volcanic domain within the outer zone of the Hercynian belt and formed within a sedimentary environment that has a high pelagic component. In spite of the diachronous emplacement between the IPB deposits (late Devonian to Visean) and Moroccan deposits (Dinantian), all were formed around 340 ± 10 Ma following a major phase of the Devonian compression.
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