Fluid flow and mineralisation in intrusion-related ore systems

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Vein-hosted mineralisation within and around intrusive complexes provides a major resource for Cu and Au, as well as other commodities such as Sn, W, and Mo. The evolution of fluid pathways, and the geometry and distribution of mineralisation in vein systems formed in intrusion-related hydrothermal systems, are governed by interactions between stress and fluid pressure states, and by the orientation of stress fields during and after magma emplacement. Rapid advances in understanding the dynamics of modern magmatic systems, and especially coupling between magma migration, stress states, seismicity and fluid flow, have provided a new basis on which to explore hydrothermal ore genesis in intrusion-related environments.

This new project is funded as part of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence in Ore Deposits and is being conducted in collaboration with researchers within CODES at the University of Tasmania. The project aims to: (1) Document geometries and styles of vein systems and their overprinting relationships around several different styles of mineralised intrusive complexes. (2) Within the framework of our developing understanding of the highly dynamic stress and fluid pressure regimes in contemporary, active magmatic systems, explore how stress states, stress field orientations and fluid pressures evolve during the development of intrusion-related hydrothermal systems. (3) Investigate how hydrothermal fluid compositions changed within the evolving fracture-controlled flow system through the application of fluid inclusion and isotopic microanalytical techniques. (4) Explore the implications of these results for understanding the evolution of fracture-controlled hydrothermal fluid pathways and reactions, and determine impacts on the distribution of economic mineralisation in intrusion-related hydrothermal systems.

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