Platinum-group mineralization at the margin of the Skaergaard intrusion, East Greenland
Springer Verlag for Society for Geology Applied to Mineral Deposits
© The Author(s) 2017. Open Access. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Two occurrences of platinum-group elements (PGEs) along the northern margin of the Skaergaard intrusion include a sulfide-bearing gabbro with slightly less than 1 ppm PGE + Au and a clinopyroxene-actinolite-plagioclase-biotite-ilmenite schist with 16 vol% sulfide and 1.8 ppm PGE + Au. Both have assemblages of pyrrhotite, pentlandite, and chalcopyrite typical for orthomagmatic sulfides. Matching platinum-group mineral assemblages with sperrylite (PtAs2), kotulskite (Pd(Bi,Te)1–2), froodite (PdBi2), michenerite (PdBiTe), and electrum (Au,Ag) suggest a common origin. Petrological and geochemical similarities suggest that the occurrences are related to the Skaergaard intrusion. The Marginal Border Series locally displays Ni depletion consistent with sulfide fractionation, and the PGE fractionation trends of the occurrences are systematically enriched by 10–50 times over the chilled margin. The PGE can be explained by sulfide-silicate immiscibility in the Skaergaard magma with R factors of 110–220. Nickel depletion in olivine suggests that the process occurred within the host cumulate, and the low R factors require little sulfide mobility. The sulfide assemblages are different to the chalcopyrite-bornite-digenite assemblage found in the Skaergaard Layered Series and Platinova Reef. These differences can be explained by the early formation of sulfide melt, while magmatic differentiation or sulfur loss caused the unusual sulfide assemblage within the Layered Series. The PGEs indicate that the sulfides formed from the Skaergaard magma. The sulfides and PGEs could not have formed from the nearby Watkins Fjord wehrlite intrusion, which is nearly barren in sulfide. We suggest that silicate-sulfide immiscibility led to PGE concentration where the Skaergaard magma became contaminated with material from the Archean basement.
The authors are grateful for logistical support from Platina Resources Ltd., Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, and members of the 2011 Skaergaard field team. JCØA was supported by grants from Helford Geoscience LLP and the Camborne School of Mines Trust. CT was supported by the Danish Natural Research Council and the Carlsberg Foundation, and CEL was supported by the US National Science Foundation (EAR-1019887). Samples were sectioned and prepared by Steve Pendray at Camborne School of Mines. The QEMSCAN is a registered trade mark of FEI Corporation.
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Published online 10 January 2017