Geology and wall rock alteration at the Hercynian Draa Sfar Zn–Pb–Cu massive sulphide deposit, Morocco

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Belkabir , Abdelhay ; Gibson , Harold L. ; Marcoux , Eric ; Lentz , David ; Rziki , S. (2008)
  • Publisher: Elsevier
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2007.03.001
  • Subject: Massive sulphide | Hercynian | Hydrothermal alteration | Draa Sfar | Morocco | [ SDU.STU.MI ] Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Mineralogy

International audience; Draa Sfar is a siliciclastic–felsic, volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) Zn–Pb–Cu deposit located 15 km north of Marrakesh within the Jebilet massif of the western Moroccan Meseta. The Draa Sfar deposit occurs within the Sarhlef series, a volcano-sedimentary succession that hosts other massive sulphide deposits (e.g., Hajar, Kettara) within the dominantly siliciclastic sedimentary succession of the lower Central Jebilet. At Draa Sfar, the footwall lithofacies are dominated by grey to black argillite, carbonaceous argillite and intercalated siltstone with localized rhyodacitic flows and domes, associated in situ and transported autoclastic deposits, and lesser dykes of aphanitic basalt and gabbro. Thin- to thick-bedded, black carbonaceous argillite, minor intercalated siltstone, and a large gabbro sill dominate the hanging wall lithofacies. The main lithologies strike NNE–SSW, parallel to a pronounced S1 foliation, and have a low-grade, chlorite–muscovite–quartz–albite–oligoclase metamorphic assemblage. The Draa Sfar deposit consists of two stratabound sulphide orebodies, Tazakourt to the south and Sidi M'Barek to the north. Both orebodies are hosted by argillite in the upper part of the lower volcano-sedimentary unit. The Tazakourt and Sidi M'Barek orebodies are highly deformed, sheet-like bodies of massive pyrrhotite (up to 95% pyrrhotite) with lesser sphalerite, galena, chalcopyrite, and pyrite. The Draa Sfar deposit formed within a restricted, sediment-starved, fault-controlled, anoxic, volcano-sedimentary rift basin. The deposit formed at and below the seafloor within anoxic, pelagic muds. The argillaceous sedimentary rocks that surround the Draa Sfar orebodies are characterized by a pronounced zonation of alteration assemblages and geochemical patterns. In the more proximal volcanic area to the south, the abundance of medium to dark green chlorite progressively increases within the argillite toward the base of the Tazakourt orebody. Chlorite alteration is manifested by the replacement of feldspar and a decrease in muscovite abundance related to a net addition of Fe and Mg and a loss of K and Na. In the volcanically distal and northern Sidi M'Barek orebody alteration within the footwall argillite is characterized by a modal increase of sericite relative to chlorite. A calcite–quartz–muscovite assemblage and a pronounced decrease in chlorite characterize argillite within the immediate hanging wall to the entire Draa Sfar deposit. The sympathetic lateral change from predominantly sericite to chlorite alteration within the footwall argillite with increasing volcanic proximity suggests that the higher temperature part of the hydrothermal system is coincident with a volcanic vent defined by localized rhyodacitic flow/domes within the footwall succession.
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