Re-Os isotopes applied to the epithermal gold deposits near Bucaramanga, northeastern Colombia

R. Mathur, J. Ruiz, P. Herb, L. Hahn, K. P. Burgath

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The epithermal gold mineralization near Bucaramanga, Colombia, is spatially associated with a dacitic porphyry of Upper Cretaceous to Early Tertiary age. Two mining districts in the vicinity of Bucaramanga, the California and the Vetas, host different styles of mineralization that could be interpreted as high- and low-sulfidation style mineralization, respectively. Re-Os isotope systematics were used on sulfide-gold-rich gravity concentrates in an attempt to determine both the ages of the epithermal deposits and the possible genetic relationships between the porphyry and the epithermal mineralization. The concentration of Os for sulfide samples taken from both systems is relatively uniform, ranging from 19 to 35 ppt (parts per trillion), whereas the Re concentration varies significantly, with the California system averaging 10 ppb (parts per billion) and the Vetas system averaging 140 ppb. The samples from the high-sulfidation California deposit form an isochron with an age of 57 ± 10 Ma (MSWD = 0.8), which overlaps with the age of the dacitic volcanism. The initial 187Os/188Os of the isochron is 1.20 ± 0.13 and indicates a predominately crustal source for the Os and, by inference, gold. The samples from the Vetas low-sulfidation system have very high Re/Os ratios and do not lie on the isochron. These data reveal a difference between two epithermal systems that border one intrusion. Sulfide samples from the high-sulfidation system are isotopically homogenous with respect to Re-Os (form an isochron) and probably represent mineralization linked closely with the high temperature volatiles/fluids from the magma. In contrast, the sulfides from the Vetas system are in disequilibrium with respect to Re-Os and may illustrate mineralization that is not directly related to similar magmatic fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-821
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of South American Earth Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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