Magnetic modeling of iron oxide copper-gold mineralization constrained by 3D multiscale integration of petrophysical and geochemical data: Cloncurry District, Australia

James R. Austin, Phillip W. Schmidt, Clive A. Foss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Magnetite-rich iron oxide copper-gold deposits (IOCGs) are geologically and geochemically complex and present major challenges to geophysical investigation. They often sit beneath significant cover, exhibit magnetic remanence, and suffer from self-demagnetization effects. Because remanence in magnetite-bearing drill core samples is commonly overprinted by drilling, in situ natural remanent magnetization is difficult to measure accurately, and thus IOCGs cannot be modeled definitively using geophysics alone. We examined structural controls on a magnetite-rich IOCG in northwest Queensland and the relationships between structure, alteration, Fe oxides, and mineralization at core to deposit scale. Magnetite within the deposit has a multidomain structure, and thus it would commonly have an in situ magnetization parallel to the earths field. In contrast, pyrrhotite has a pseudosingle-domain structure and so it is the predominant carrier of stable remanence within the ore system. Geophysical lineament analyses are used to determine structural controls on mineralization, geophysical filters (e.g., analytic signal amplitude) are used to help define structural extent of the deposit, and basement geochemistry is used to map mineral footprints beneath cover. These techniques identified coincident anomalies at the intersection of north and northwest lineaments. Leapfrog™ interpolations of downhole magnetic susceptibility and Cu, Au, and Fe assay data were used to map the distribution of magnetite, copper, gold, and sulfur in 3D. The analysis revealed that Cu and Au mineralization were coupled with the magnetite net-vein architecture, but that Cu was locally enriched in the east-northeast-trending demagnetized zone. The results from this suite of geophysical, petrophysical, and geochemical techniques were integrated to constrain modeling of the Brumby IOCG. Brumby can be described as a breccia pipe sitting at the intersection of north-striking, east-dipping, and northwest-striking, southeast-dipping structures that plunges moderately to the south-southeast. The breccia pipe was overprinted by a relatively late net-vein magnetite breccia and crosscut by a later, magnetite-destructive, east-northeast-striking fault.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)T63-T84
Number of pages22
JournalInterpretation
Volume1
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Interpolation
  • Magnetic susceptibility
  • Magnetics
  • Modeling
  • Paleomagnetism

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