Control of Shear-Zone-Induced Pressure Fluctuations on Gold Endowment: The Giant El Callao District, Guiana Shield, Venezuela
The El Callao district, with a total endowment of more than 2000 t Au, is considered to be the most prolific gold resource in Venezuela. Mineralization is hosted by a vein system that is genetically associated with the El Callao transpressional shear zone. This vein system consists of a network of interconnected quartz–albite–ankerite veins enveloping a large number of metabasaltic fragments that host gold-bearing pyrites. Based on detailed mineralogical, microstructural, and fluid inclusion studies, a pressure-temperature pathway was established for the evolution of the mineralizing fluid during shear-zone development and exhumation. This path is characterized by repeated episodes of fluid pressure fluctuation from lithostatic (higher than 1.6 kbar) to near-hydrostatic values (<0.4 kbar), recorded throughout the transition from the quasi-plastic to frictional deformation cortical domains. Each successive pressure drop induced boiling of the hydrothermal fluid, with the resulting fluid phase separation controlling: (i) pyrite and invisible gold crystallization, which occurred during ductile and ductile-brittle transition strain conditions, and (ii) primary gold remobilization with consequent native-refined gold precipitation, occurring mainly under brittle conditions. The metallogenic framework that was proposed for the El Callao shear zone can be used as a vector to explore and characterize other mineralized shear zones in the Guiana Shield and analogous orogenic systems worldwide.
Artículo de publicación SCOPUS