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ORIGINAL RESEARCH article

Front. Earth Sci.
Sec. Economic Geology
Volume 12 - 2024 | doi: 10.3389/feart.2024.1363029

Zircon compositional systematics from Devonian oxidized I-type granitoids: examination of porphyry Cu fertility indices in the New Brunswick Appalachians Provisionally Accepted

 Fazilat Yousefi1*  David R. Lentz1 Christopher R. Mcfarlane1 James A. Walker2  Kathleen G. Thorne2
  • 1University of New Brunswick Fredericton, Canada
  • 2Government of New Brunswick, Canada

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Zircon is a common, widely distributed accessory mineral in most igneous rocks and its refractory nature records magmatic evolution in terms of oxygen and U-Th-Pb isotopes, and trace-element contents all of which reflect the intrinsic physio-chemical evolution of the magmatic systems in which it crystallized.
Zircon compositions can be used as an indicator of relative fertility of hypabyssal intrusions in terms Cu ± Mo ± Au porphyry mineralization. To further characterize syn- to post-collisional adakitic Devonian oxidized I-type granitoids in the New Brunswick (specifically, those with Cu ± Mo ± Au porphyry-style mineralization), LA-ICP-MS analyses (guided by µXRF-EDS mapping and SEM-BSE imaging of polished thin sections) of zircons from 13 granitoids was conducted. The zircons studied were similar in terms of their textures (homogenous cores, patchy zoning, oscillatory zoning, and some unzoned zircon); however, they have a wide range of trace- and minor-element (Hf, HREE, Y, Th, U) compositions. Specifically, Zr/Hf ranges between 24-60, whereas Th/U ranges between 0.15 and 5.37. The presence of inherited zircon affects the concentrations of Th and U, as well as other key elements. Estimated crystallization temperatures of granitoids, ranging from 737 to 899 ºC, were calculated via Ti-in-zircon geothermometry assuming reduced TiO2 and SiO2 activities. The calculated log fO2 values for zircons from some of these granitoids indicate a highly oxidized magmatic signature. Zr/Hf, Eu/Eu⁎, and (Eu/Eu⁎)/Y in zircon, as well as zircon (Ce/Nd)/Y are some of the best indicators of porphyry fertility. The Ce/Ce* in zircon exhibit a large range (1.1-590), with higher Ce/Ce* reflecting more metallogenically favourable oxidizing conditions. If Eu/Eu⁎ in zircon is ≥ 0.4 (relatively oxidized conditions), it indicates a high potential for an ore-forming porphyry Cu mineralizing system. Lower Eu contents reflect relatively reducing conditions, as Eu anomalies vary with oxygen fugacity as well, and the relative abundance of Eu2+ is higher, but does not substitute into the zircon lattice.

Keywords: Zircon chemistry, Devonian oxidized I-type granitoids, Porphyry Cu fertility, New Brunswick Appalachians, Canada

Received: 29 Dec 2023; Accepted: 16 Apr 2024.

Copyright: © 2024 Yousefi, Lentz, Mcfarlane, Walker and Thorne. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Miss. Fazilat Yousefi, University of New Brunswick Fredericton, Fredericton, Canada