The Cu isotopic signature of granites from the Lachlan Fold Belt, SE Australia

Weiqiang Li*, Simon E. Jackson, Norman J. Pearson, Olivier Alard, Bruce W. Chappell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


This contribution reports our preliminary work to determine Cu isotope ratios for various granite rocks and examine the Cu isotope systematics within granite suites. A chemical procedure, modified from Maréchal [Maréchal, C.N., Télouk, P. and Albarède, F., 1999. Precise analysis of copper and zinc isotopic compositions by plasma-source mass spectrometry. Chemical Geology, 156(1-4): 251-273.], was used to separate Cu from rock matrix. Quantitative recovery (100.6 ± 1.6%), with a low total procedural blank (2.65 ± 0.66 ng) for Cu, has been achieved, allowing Cu isotopic measurements on samples with as little as 10 ppm Cu. The Cu isotope ratios (δ65Cu relative to NIST SRM 976) of 32 rock samples, ranging from mafic to felsic compositions, from 3 batholiths (2 I-type, 1 S-type) from the Lachlan Fold Belt in southeastern Australia, vary from - 0.46‰ to 1.51‰. Most of them cluster around zero, with mean values for the I-type and S-type granites of 0.03 ± 0.15‰ and - 0.03 ± 0.42‰ (2 sigma) respectively. These data, together with Cu isotope ratios of two loess samples, provide preliminary evidence that the baseline Cu isotopic composition of the crystalline part of upper continental crust is close to zero. The tight clustering of Cu isotope ratios of rocks from the I-type suites suggests that high-temperature magmatic processes do not produce significant Cu isotope fractionation. However, two granites with abnormally heavy Cu isotope signatures (up to 1.51‰) appears to be the result of localized hydrothermal alteration. Measurable variation in Cu isotopic composition of the S-type granite may reflect isotopic heterogeneity in the sedimentary source region as a result of redox processes or may be due to hydrothermal overprinting. Thus, Cu isotope geochemistry may be a useful tracer for studying hydrothermal alteration and source heterogeneity of granitic rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-49
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Geology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'The Cu isotopic signature of granites from the Lachlan Fold Belt, SE Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this