Hydrothermal alteration in Eshtehard volcanoes, Iran: Constraints from trace elements redistribution and stable isotope geochemistry

Shahrouz Babazadeh, Jalil Ghalamghash, Massimo D'Antonio, Tanya Furman

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We use the mineralogy, trace element compositions and elemental mass balance of volcanic materials collected from propylitic, potassic and phyllic alteration facies in the Eshtehard area of Iran to document the nature and effects of hydrothermal alteration. Incompatible element abundances in hydrothermally–altered samples show transformations that include: (i) depletion of alkalis and alkaline earth elements (i.e., Ba, Sr), (ii) variable behavior of first series transition elements (depletion in Cr, Co and Ni; enrichment in Zn and Cu), and (iii) depletion of HREE, Hf and Th relative to U and LREE. In detail, potassic (associated with a major addition of Cu) and phyllic zones are characterized by enrichment of SiO2 and MgO whereas propylitization depleted SiO2 and MnO, enriched MgO and Fe2O3, and increased LOI. Whole rock geochemistry along hydrothermal facies revealed consistent negative Ce and Eu anomalies, indicating that reducing conditions persisted during hydrothermal processes. Substantial changes in isovalent elements ratios (i.e., K/Ba, K/Rb, Y/Ho, Sr/Eu, Zr/Hf and Eu/Eu*) along the facies illustrate non–charge and radius control behavior are construed as lanthanide tetrad–effect phenomena. The co–occurrence of zigzag patterns (i.e., M and W–shapes) is evidence for partial or incomplete tetrad effect reaction between REE3+ and F-and Cl-rich fluids in hydrothermal systems. Low T4 tetrad–effect values overall suggest rock–fluid interaction involving rather low temperature hydrothermal solutions. Mass (ΔM) and volume (ΔV) were slightly depleted in the propylitic (−3.80% and −5.66%) potassic (−3.48% and −5.66%), and phyllic (−2.52% and −2.91%) zones with isocon slopes of 1.06, 1.06 and 1.03, respectively. We envisage a secondary phenomenon in open system conditions which accompanied fluid–rock interaction as the plausible cause of slight REE tetrad effect observed in the hydrothermally altered samples. Fluid inclusions studies yield homogenization temperatures of 275–596 °C and salinity ranging from 34 to 39 wt% NaCl equivalent suggesting boiling during mineralization in the Eshtehard area. The calculated δ18O and δD of the fluids range between 5.3 and 7.1 and −75 to −62 per mil, respectively. On this basis, we suggest that the ore-forming fluids had a magmatic source and underwent boiling and/or exchange with hydrous minerals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106719
JournalJournal of Geochemical Exploration
StatePublished - Mar 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Economic Geology


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