Porphyry Cu deposits linked to episodic growth of an underlying parental magma chamber

Yuanchuan Zheng*, Lu Wang, Chuandong Xue, Bo Xu, Abdul Ghaffar, Zhusen Yang, Yongjun Lu, Limin Zhou, William L. Griffin, Zengqian Hou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Saindak is one of the typical porphyry Cu deposits (PCDs) in the Chagai magmatic arc in Pakistan. Ore-forming porphyries at Saindak PCD are mainly composed of tonalite. Here, we use geochemistry of apatite enclosed in plagioclase phenocrysts from the ore-forming tonalite to constrain the releasing and recharging processes of S and Cl in the underlying parental magma chamber during PCD mineralization. Although apatite inclusions have homogeneous intra-grain S and Cl compositions, there is significant inter-grain S and Cl variations in apatite inclusions located from core to rim in the hosting plagioclase. Such inter-grain S and Cl variation in apatites are coupled with the core-to-rim trends of An, FeO and Mg contents of the hosting plagioclase phenocryst. It indicates that the Saindak PCD likely formed by episodic injection of primitive magmas during the growth of an underlying magma chamber, rather than by one major injection or by addition of mafic melt derived from different source region. Each primitive melt injection introduced essential ore-forming materials such as S and Cl, which were rapidly and effectively released to the coexisting fluids, causing mineralization. Once primitive melt injection stops, signaling the end of growth of underlying magma chamber, mineralization will cease quickly although the hydrothermal system can still survive for a long time. However, the later released fluids are relatively depleted in ore-forming materials, and thus have lower capability to generate mineralization. Accordingly, predominant porphyry-type mineralizations occurred during the growth rather than waning stage of a magmatic system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1807-1816
Number of pages10
JournalScience China Earth Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Apatite
  • Plagioclase
  • Episodic injection
  • Parental magma chamber
  • Porphyry Cu deposit


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