ORIGIN OF THE LATE AURIFEROUS BARITE-BASE METAL SULFIDE AND GOETHITE-HEMATITE STAGES AT THE SUMMITVILLE HIGH-SULFIDATION CU-AU-AG DEPOSIT, COLORADO
Weathering generated a goethite+hematite±jarosite±scorodite±gold overprint in the upper part of the deposit. 40Ar/39Ar dates on jarosite suggest that exposure to surficial waters had occurred by ~ 9 to 7 Ma. Barite and bladed alunite inclusions in goethite+hematite represent residual mineral fragments; as confirmed by alunite 40Ar/39Ar dates of 23.38 to 22.68 Ma that match published dates for alteration and dome emplacement. Alunite also is present in goethite+hematite as small (<50 μm), zoned, rhombohedral crystals that have an isotopic composition (δ34S = 0.8 ‰; δ18O = 4.7 ‰) consistent with a weathering origin.
The late barite-base metal sulfide±gold stage was triggered by cooling and oxidation of high-sulfidation magmatic fluids due to mixing with meteoric water. The diluted fluids (~5 wt. % solutes) contained Ba, Fe, Cu, Pb, Zn, Bi, Ag, Au and sulfate and sulfide sulfur. After preservation by younger volcanics for ~15 M years, the deposit was modified by acidic, oxidizing supergene fluids that remobilized and broadly enriched the top of the deposit in Cu and Ag and locally in native gold (5 wt. % Ag). Overall, the amount of gold deposited decreased during the evolution of the deposit but dramatically increased in coarseness and grade.