Rocky Mountain (56th Annual) and Cordilleran (100th Annual) Joint Meeting (May 3–5, 2004)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 10:20 AM


MILLER, Brooke J.1, REED, Mark H.2 and RUSK, Brian1, (1)Dept. of Geological Sciences, Univ of Oregon, 1272 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1272, (2)Dept. of Geological Sciences, Univ of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1272,

The Butte District consists of a large porphyry copper deposit cut by a system of Main Stage veins that are 1-3 kilometers long and up to several meters wide. The Main Stage veins are zoned with copper sulfides in the central zone, Mn-Zn-Pb minerals in the periphery, and a copper-zinc sulfide transition zone between. Measurements on fluid inclusions in quartz and rhodochrosite from Main Stage veins help constrain the temperature, pressure, and chemical conditions that prevailed during ore formation, and illuminate the relationship between the porphyry copper stage fluids and Main Stage fluids. We measured 77 fluid inclusions from the central copper zone and 73 from the peripheral (Mn-Zn) zone; 90% were in quartz. Fluid inclusions in Main Stage veins are liquid-dominated (5-20 vol. % vapor) and 95% homogenize between 225 and 294oC. Homogenization temperatures corrected for a maximum estimated pressure of 70 MPa yield trapping temperatures of 265-350oC. Ice melting temperatures show differences in fluid salinity across the district, and appear to vary independently from homogenization temperature. Ice melts between -0.4 and -4.7oC, with a mean of -2.1oC. Rupturing fluid inclusions by crushing under oil reveals substantial non-condensable gas in the vapor phase, at a pressure several times greater than atmospheric. Raman spectroscopic measurements of fluid inclusions from the older porphyry copper system show that the dominant non-condensable gas is CO2. Dissolved CO2 must be considered when calculating salinity (total dissolved solids) from melting point data, because it substantially lowers the ice melting temperature.

We calculated the CO2 melting point depression correction by using estimates of CO2 concentration and applied them to the experimental ice melting temperatures. The lack of observed CO2-H2O clathrates upon inclusion cooling suggest that the maximum CO2 concentration is 0.85 mol% in the Butte Main Stage fluids. Corrected ice melting temperatures greater than 0oC indicate that many inclusions contain less than 0.85 mol% CO2. Fluid salinities corrected for 0.20 mol% CO2 are between 0.05 and 6.92 wt % NaCl equivalent. The maximum calculated fluid salinity with corrections for 0.85 mol% CO2 is 5.14 wt. % NaCl equivalent.