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Dynamics of the McArthur Basin diagenetic/hydrothermal system (Australia) : Timing and nature of fluid flow and constraints on the distribution of mineral resources (U, Cu, Pb-Zn)

Abstract : The sedimentary McArthur Basin (Northern Territory and Queensland, Australia) is associated with numerous diagenetic/hydrothermal uranium, copper, lead and zinc concentrations, including some world-class deposits (e.g., Ranger and HYC). Some deposits correspond to styles of mineralisation well defined such as unconformity-type for uranium and Sediment-Hosted Massive Sulphide (SHMS) for lead-zinc, but others are not linked to a specific type. A major mineralising event at around 1650-1600 Ma is recorded in the uranium deposits in the North (Alligator Rivers Uranium Field – ARUF) and South (Westmoreland) parts of the basin and in lead-zinc deposits in the centre (Batten Fault Zone), and accounted for the exceptional metalliferous stock of the basin. In addition, even if it has not been established that the fluids responsible for uranium and lead-zinc mineralisation share a common origin, their characteristics in terms of temperature and salinity are similar. This PhD focused on the major factors controlling metals resources distribution at a large scale in this intracratonic sedimentary basin by studying the mineralisation with a geochronological and geochemical approach, and by characterising the associated fluids in order to define its age, temperature and emplacement conditions. In addition to the major event at 1650-1600 Ma, the metallogenic history of the basin shows numerous other evidences for crystallisation or remobilisation of the metalliferous stock. Some of the fluid circulation stages are linked with geodynamic events such as basin inversions or orogeneses located a few hundreds of kilometres from the studied area. It seems that the large scale migrations of mineralising fluids (i.e., overall horizontal in the large sandstone aquifers, and vertical in the major faults zones) allowed the metal mobilisation in different reservoirs from the basin and the basement, and their selective precipitation within favourable zones.
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Joséphine Gigon. Dynamics of the McArthur Basin diagenetic/hydrothermal system (Australia) : Timing and nature of fluid flow and constraints on the distribution of mineral resources (U, Cu, Pb-Zn). Earth Sciences. Université de Lorraine, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019LORR0178⟩. ⟨tel-02517713⟩

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