Diagenetic processes in ore formation with special reference to the Zambian Copperbelt and Permian Marl Slate
This thesis is concerned with the role of diagenesis in forming ore deposits. Two sedimentary 'ore-types' have been examined; the Proterozoic copper-cobalt orebodies of the Konkola Basin on the Zambian Copperbelt, and the Permian Marl Slate of North East England. Facies analysis of the Konkola Basin shows the Ore-Shale to have formed in a subtidal to intertidal environment. A sequence of diagenetic events is outlined from which it is concluded that the sulphide ores are an integral part of the diagenetic process. Sulphur isotope data establish that the sulphides formed as a consequence of the bacterial reduction of sulphate, while the isotopic and geochemical composition of carbonates is shown to reflect changes in the compositions of diagenetic pore fluids. Geochemical studies indicate that the copper and cobalt bearing mineralising fluids probably had different sources. Veins which crosscut the orebodies contain hydrocarbon inclusions, and are shown to be of late diagenetic lateral secretion origin. RbiSr dating indicates that the Ore-Shale was subject to metamorphism at 529 A- 20 myrs. The sedimentology and petrology of the Marl Slate are described. Textural and geochemical studies suggest that much of the pyrite (framboidal) in the Marl Slate formed in an anoxic water column, while euhedral pyrite and base metal sulphides formed within the sediment during early diagenesis. Sulphur isotope data confirm that conditions were almost "ideal" for sulphide formation during Marl Slate deposition, the limiting factors in ore formation being the restricted supply of chalcophile elements. Carbon and oxygen isotope data, along with petrographic observations, indicate that much of the calcite and dolomite occurring in the Marl Slate is primary, and probably formed in isotopic equilibrium. A depositional model is proposed which explains all of the data presented and links the lithological variations with fluctuations in the anoxicioxic boundary layer of the water column.