Anoxic seawater may have played an important role in the preservation of volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits in the Hokuroku district, northeast Japan, which is the type locality for Kuroko-type VMS deposits. In this study, we investigated the Fe isotopic compositions of sulfide ores and overlying ferruginous sedimentary rocks in these deposits. These data, coupled with petrographic and geochemical data, enable us to investigate the key formation processes and conditions during the formation of large Kuroko-type VMS deposits. Large Fe isotope variations of ca. 4‰ (δ56Fe) associated with negative or positive Ce anomalies characterize the ferruginous sedimentary rocks formed in the Kuroko VMS deposits and post-Kuroko hydrothermal activity. This suggests that iron (hydr)oxides were precipitated by the partial oxidation of dissolved Fe2+ derived from hydrothermal fluids in anoxic or suboxic pools in the Hokuroku Basin. Positive Eu anomalies in the ferruginous cherts closely associated with the Kuroko VMS deposits indicate formation from high-temperature hydrothermal fluids. Zinc-rich black ores in both the Matsumine and Fukazawa deposits have lower δ56Fe values, due to rapid precipitation of pyrite triggered by the mixing of hydrothermal fluids with seawater. Positive shifts in δ56Fe values in the ferruginous cherts from the Ezuri and Fukazawa deposits may be explained by simultaneous precipitation of ferruginous sedimentary rocks with black ores, which modified the δ56Fe values of the hydrothermal fluids to positive values. However, Cu-rich yellow ores show no significant Fe isotope fractionation as compared with the dissolved Fe in the hydrothermal fluids, and were likely formed by slow growth of pyrite that replaced the black ores. The difference in the abundance of sulfide ores between the Matsumine and Fukazawa deposits may reflect the duration of hydrothermal circulation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geochemistry and Petrology