Isotopic and geochemical studies on crustal effects in the genesis of the woodlawn Pb-Zn-Cu deposit

Brian L. Gulson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Lead (and U-Pb) isotope data for sulphides and whole rocks, U-3Pb data for zircons, and Rb-Sr data for whole rocks have been determined in an attempt to elucidate the processes by which the volcanic Pb-Zn-Cu deposit at Woodlawn, southeastern N.S.W., was formed, and to relate this information to current theories of crustal effects in the genesis of volcanic Pb-Zn deposits. The lead isotope compositions of pyrite, galena, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite from the ore horizon are the same, and identical to the initial lead isotope compositions of pyrite in the host volcanics. Linear relations are obtained for plots of 207Pb/ 204Pb vs 206Pb/204Pb, 208Pb/204Pb vs 204Pb/204Pb, and 238U/204Pb vs 206Pb/204Pb for least altered whole rock volcanics, indicating no loss or gain of U to these rocks since their formation. The similar initial 206Pb/204Pb ratios in the sulphides and host volcanics suggest a common source for the lead. However, acid leach experiments, carried out to remove the ore lead influence, suggest the lead to be a complex mixture of ore and rock lead. The differences observed for high and low lead samples in the acid leaching experiments suggest that these tests may provide an additional tool in prospecting for base-metal sulphides of this type. U-Pb data for zircons from the whole rocks give a spectrum of apparent ages ranging from 428 to 477 m.y. reflecting varying amounts of older zircons or resetting of the U-Pb systems in the volcanics. The older zircons are present either as discrete rounded crystals or cores surrounded by new euhedral growth. The populations and U-Pb data suggest the rocks were pre-existing volcanics with a possible detrital component, whose ages have not been fully reset during remelting. In contrast to the zircon data, U-Pb and Rb-Sr whole rock data define lines proportional to ages of 413±6 m.y. and 409±4 m.y. (1.39×10-11/yr) respectively and the strontium has a relatively high initial ratio of ∼0.710. The complex zircon population, high initial Sr ratio, Th/U ratios and rare earth data suggest the Woodlawn volcanics were formed by multistage remelting of material of similar chemical composition. Consequently, conformable deposits of this type should not be discussed in terms of the Growth Curve and single stage models of lead development. Mineralization is thought to have occurred at ∼420 m.y., either from solutions associated with the volcanism and/or concentrated from the volcanics and sediments by circulating sea water, in a shallow convective cell and soon after, or during, the formation of the pile. Alternatively, the multistage processes operating during formation of the Woodlawn volcanics acted as an effective homogeniser of lead isotopes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-242
Number of pages16
JournalContributions to Mineralogy and Petrology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1977
Externally publishedYes


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