Petrogenesis and timing of emplacement of porphyritic monzonite, dolerite, and basalt associated with the Kuoerzhenkuola Au deposit, Western Junggar, NW China: implications for early Carboniferous tectonic setting and Cu–Au mineralization prospectivity

Feng Yuan, Yu Feng Deng, Taofa Zhou, Dayu Zhang, Chao Xu, Simon M Jowitt, Ruofei Zhang, Bingbing Zhao

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The Kuoerzhenkuola epithermal Au deposit is located in the northern part of the West Junggar region of NW China and is underlain by a recently discovered porphyritic monzonite intrusion that contains Cu–Au mineralization. Zircon LA-ICP-MS U–Pb dating of this intrusion yielded an age of 350 ± 4.7 Ma. The porphyritic monzonite is calc-alkaline and is characterized by high concentrations of Sr (583–892 ppm), significant depletions in the heavy rare earth elements (HREE; e.g. Yb = 0.96–2.57 ppm) and Y (10.4–23.3 ppm), and primitive mantle-normalized multi-element variation diagram patterns with positive Sr and Ba and negative Nb and Ti anomalies, all of which indicate that this intrusion is compositionally similar to adakites elsewhere. The composition of the porphyritic monzonite is indicative of the derivation from magmas generated by the melting of young subducted slab material. The area also contains Nb-enriched basalts that are enriched in sodium (Na2O/K2O = 1.20–3.90) and have higher Nb, Zr, TiO2, and P2O5 concentrations and Nb/La and Nb/U ratios than typical arc basalts. The juxtaposition of adakitic rocks, Nb-enriched basalts, and dolerites in this region suggests that the oceanic crust of the expansive oceans within the West Junggar underwent early Carboniferous subduction. Magnetite is widespread throughout the Kuoerzhenkuola Au deposit, as evidenced by the volcanic breccias cemented by late hydrothermal magnetite and pyrite. In addition, the zoned potassic, quartz-sericite alteration, and propylitic and kaolin alteration in the deeper parts of the porphyritic monzonite are similar to those found in porphyry Cu–Au deposits. These findings, coupled with the mineralogy and geochemistry of the alteration associated with the Kuoerzhenkuola Au deposit, suggest that the mineralization in this area is not purely epithermal, with the geology and geochemistry of the porphyritic monzonite in this area suggesting that a porphyry Cu–Au deposit is probably located beneath the Kuoerzhenkuola Au deposit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154-1174
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Geology Review
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2017


  • Adakite
  • Kuoerzhenkuola Au deposit
  • Nb-enriched basalt
  • Porphyritic monzonite
  • West Junggar
  • Zircon LA-ICP-MS U–Pb dating

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