Tectonic Settings of Metal Deposits

From Skinner as well as Porter, 1987

Ore Deposits as well as Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics, similar crustal evolution, provides a footing for agreement the distribution as well as root of mineral as well as unloosen energy deposits. The human relationship of plate tectonics as well as mineral deposits is pregnant on 3 counts:
  • Geological processes operating due to unloosen energy released at plate boundaries command the procedure of mineral deposition.
  • Mineral deposits shape inwards detail tectonic settings which are governed past times plate tectonics.
  • Reconstruction of fragmented continents tin provide a useful footing for exploration of novel mineral deposits.
Several requirements must endure fulfilled inwards whatsoever tectonic setting for the production as well as accumulation of minerals. Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 publish of tectonic settings encounter these requirements:
  •  Hydrothermal activeness at the ridges gives rising to a) Sulfide deposits as well as b) Metalliferous sediments on the flanks of ridges.  Important metallic element deposits formed are Fe, Zn, Cu, Pb, gold as well as Ag. In the Red Sea metalliferous sediments containing Fe, Zn as well as Cu are beingness deposited.
  • Mn oxide deposits are of import at some ridges Eg the TAG Hydrothermal plain on the Atlantic Ridge.
  • Ultramafic rocks inwards ophiolites containing asbestos, chromite as well as nickel ores. These are mostly accessible inwards Phanerozoic orogenic belts to which sites they convey been transported due to plate movement.
  • Podiform chromite deposits associated amongst serpentinized ultramafic rocks.
  • Cyprus Type massive sulfide deposits (Cu-Fe rich) are likewise associated amongst ophiolites as well as correspond hydrothermal deposits formed at sea ridges.
Several types of mineral deposits seem to present a genetic human relationship to either the hot drapery plumage itself or the tracks it produces.


Metallic deposits are commonly constitute at both continental as well as arc convergent plate margins. Along the Circum-Pacific Belt major metallic element deposits occur inwards western North as well as South America, Japan, Philippines, New Zealand as well as Indonesia. More than one-half of the world’s render of copper comes from the Porphyry Copper Deposits of this region. Important deposits associated amongst introduce as well as one-time convergent margins are:
  • Base metals (Cu, Pb, Zn, Mo).
  • Precious metals (Pt, Au, Ag).
  • Other metals (Sn, W, Sb, Hg). (Red Bed uranium deposits are likewise associated amongst convergent boundaries Eg SW United States).
Zoning of mineral deposits forming at convergent margins is apparent Eg inwards the Andes, going from W to east, the various zones encountered are:

a) contact metasomatic Fe- deposits;
b) Cu-Ag as well as atomic number 47 veins;
c) Porphypy Cu-Mo deposits;
d) Pb-Zn-Ag veins as well as contact metasomatic deposits; and
e) Sn deposits.

These zones are caused due to progressive liberation of metals from the descending slab, amongst Sn coming from a depth of 300 Km. The metals are derived from some combination of the descending slab as well as the overlying drapery wedge. They displace upwards inwards magmas or fluids as well as are concentrated inwards like shooting fish in a barrel hydrothermal as well as magmatic fluids.
Petroleum occurs inwards the back-arc basins inwards arc convergent margins where organic thing is trapped as well as at that topographic point is a lack of gratuitous circulation so that its oxidation is prevented. Geothermal estrus facilitates conversion of organic thing to petroleum, as well as accompanying deformation forms traps for accumulation of petroleum.
Potential geothermal fields likewise occur along convergent margins.


A variety of local tectonic settings be along collision plate margins. Most of the deposits that occur hither convey formed inwards various tectonic settings as well as convey been transported to the collision zones. Consequently, a multifariousness of metallic element deposits are abundant here:
  • Deposits mostly related amongst oceanic ridges (ophiolites).
  • Those associated amongst convergent plate margins.
  • Mineral deposits associated amongst cratonic assemblages.
  • Deposits associated amongst continental rifts.
  • Deposits genetically related to collision zones are hydrocarbons which may accumulate inwards foreland basins associated amongst such zones, Eg the Western Farsi Gulf SW of the Zagros Suture inwards Iran.

Regional uplift as well as doming commonly upshot when a continent comes to remainder over a hotspot as well as huge volumes of magma rising to the surface. Extensional failure of the lithopheric crust may occur amongst continued doming, triggering the evolution of a triple junction – a 3 armed continental rift system. Typically, i arm of the rift fails remaining a scissure inwards the crust known equally an aulacogen, patch the remaining 2 arms opened upwards to shape an oceanic basin. The prevalence of 3 armed rifts is revealed past times reassembling the continents surrounding the Atlantic Ocean to their positions earlier Pangea separate up. In virtually cases 2 of the arms were incorporated into the Atlantic, patch the tertiary remained equally a blind rift extending into the continent.

Rifting follows crustal doming inwards reply to hot-spot activeness inwards the mantle.

  • Granites intruded at this phase convey associated Sn as well as fluorite deposits.
  • Evaporites accumulate inwards the rifts during the to a greater extent than advanced stages, amongst Pb-Zn-Ag deposits inwards limestones forming during the early on as well as middle stages of rifting. These are followed past times oceanic metalliferous deposits.
  • Aulacogens are characterized past times the presence of fluorite, barite, carbonatites (with Nb, P, REE, U, Thursday etc) as well as Sn-bearing granites.
  • Geothermal fields occur along the rifts due to the upwelling of the asthenosphere.
  • Carbonatites (unusual igneous stone rich inwards calcite as well as other carbonate minerals which are considered to endure drapery derived), kimberlites, as well as alkaline metal granites within or side past times side to rifts provide a major source of metallic element as well as other minerals.

Marginal as well as intracontinental cratonic basins provide a favourable setting for accumulation of organic matter. During the opening of a cratonic rift, seawater moves into the basin as well as evaporation exceeds inflow, giving rising to the formation of evaporites. The surroundings is characterized past times restricted circulation as well as therefore organic thing is preserved leading to the accumulation of petroleum. With continued rifting, circulation becomes unrestricted as well as deposition of evaporites as well as organic thing ceases.
High geothermal gradients beneath the opening rift as well as growth inwards pressure level due to burial past times sediments facilitates the conversion of organic thing to petroleum. In the terminal stages of the opening of the basin, the tabular array salt beds may get to rising equally tabular array salt domes forming traps for oil as well as gas. Oil as well as gas may likewise endure trapped inwards structural as well as stratigraphic traps equally they displace upwards due to increasing temperature as well as pressure, Eg the Red Sea.
This speculation is lent back upwards past times the fact that simply about the Atlantic at that topographic point is a unopen geographic as well as geologic human relationship betwixt hydrocarbons as well as tabular array salt accumulations.

by: S. Farooq Department of Geology Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh – 202 002 (India)

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