The Mazarrón basin, SE Spain: a study of mineralization processes, evolving magmatic series, and geothermal activity



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Crespo Feo, Elena and Lillo Ramos, F. Javier and Oyarzun, Roberto and Cubas, Paloma (2013) The Mazarrón basin, SE Spain: a study of mineralization processes, evolving magmatic series, and geothermal activity. International geology review, 55 (16). pp. 1978-1990. ISSN 0020-6814

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The Miocene to Present Mazarrón basin provides a window on the metallogenic role of an evolving magmatic series. High-K calc–alkaline magmas gave rise to an important cluster of Pb–Zn–Ag–Cu vein and stockwork deposits emplaced in dacitic to rhyodacitic domes, part of a complex volcanic–metallogenic province (Au, Hg, Pb–Zn–Cu–Ag, Sn) stretching for ∼150 km along the Mediterranean coast of SE Spain. By Pliocene time the former magmatic series had been replaced by intraplate alkaline basaltic volcanism, thus becoming the southern branch of the Western/Central Europe alkaline province. In terms of base metal sulphide deposits, this European province is barren, although it triggered widespread, CO2-rich geothermal activity. Modern geothermal activity at El Saladillo (Mazarrón) resulted in the deposition of carbonate sinter deposits and formation of microbial mats. Proximal facies consist of millimetric to centimetric multicoloured layers of microbial mats, including yellow-orange thin bands of calcified bacteria and mineral growths of aragonite and calcite; green layers of live thermophilic Lyngbya-type cyanobacteria; black, degraded organic matter; and pyrite as the sole sulphide phase. Except for arsenic (37–63 μg g−1), all of the studied trace elements (Ag, Ba, Bi, Cd, Cu, Pb, Sb, Se, and Sn) appear in remarkably low concentrations in the geothermal sinters. This is consistent with compositional data for the El Saladillo waters, with no significant metal concentrations. We present the first conceptual model (Miocene to Present) for the ore-forming processes, magmatism, CO2 degasification, and geothermal activity for this realm. We argue that the time- and space-limited character of this volcanism (small, scattered outcrops), the deep magma emplacement level, the metal sulphide behaviour in alkaline basaltic magmatic chambers, and the dry character of these magmas prevented any metallogenic interaction between the chambers and the much shallower meteoric waters that drove the El Saladillo geothermal system and others of the same kind in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.

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Accepted 24 May 2013 / Published online: 21 Jun 2013.
© 2013 Taylor & Francis.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Mazarrón basin; SE Spain; Base metal deposits; High-K calc–alkaline aqueous fluids; Barren intraplate alkaline magmatism; CO2 degasification; Geothermal activity
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Mineralogy
Medical sciences > Pharmacy > Botany
Medical sciences > Pharmacy > Soil science
ID Code:72662
Deposited On:06 Jun 2022 07:03
Last Modified:13 Jun 2022 10:27

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