19.10.2015

Proterozoic Fluorbritholite-bearing REE-rich Hydrothermal Veins Near Jamestown, Colorado

By: Julien Allaz, Markus B. Raschke, Steeledan Cortes and Philip Persson


Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, 45, 5, 41 (2013)


Goddard & Glass (1940; Am Min 25:381), Hanson & Pearce (1941; Am Min 26:110) and Gay (1957; Min Mag 31:422) reported mineralogically zoned REE-rich veins (sum REE=56 oxide wt %; Y2O3=3 wt %), with dark black allanite borders and grey cerite-rich cores, at the "Rusty Gold" locality near Jamestown, CO. These veins are associated with 1.4 Ga Silver Plume granite, at the contact with small lenticular roof-pendants of 1.7 Ga Idaho Springs group biotite schists. They also contain purple fluorite, brown epidote, bastnasite, toernebohmite and monazite, as well as minor quartz, uraninite, sulfides, and Fe-oxides. Goddard & Glass determined bulk-rock composition of the cerite-rich central zone of these veins, subtracted estimated modal percentages of minor minerals (quartz, fluorite, uraninite and bastnasite) associated with this zone, and thereby calculated an approximate cerite composition. They also estimated a Proterozoic age of 0.9 Ga based on a U/Pb whole-rock ratio, and suggested that these veins were genetically related to their Silver Plume granite host, not the younger Tertiary mineralization in the Jamestown district. In order to assess their conclusions with modern analytical tools, we have relocated these outcrops and obtained mineral chemistry by electron microprobe. Our new microprobe analyses suggest that the cerite is actually fluorbritholite, as it contains only negligible Al2O3, Fe2O3 and MgO, but ~1.0 wt % P2O5. We determined an average oxide wt % composition for this fluorbritholite of SiO2=22.8; CaO=11.7; La2O3=6.9; Ce2O3=26.5; Nd2O3=16.8; Pr2O3=3.7; Sm2O3=2.4; Gd2O3=1.5; P2O5 =0.9; Y2O3=2.9; F=~3; plus HREE. This is only the seventh occurrence worldwide of fluorbritholite, first reported in alkali syenite from Mont Saint Hilaire, Canada, by Gu Jiexiang et al. (1994; Min Record 27:463). Our U-Th-total Pb monazite age of 1.40-1.45 Ga, which is similar to the host Silver Plume granite, confirms the Proterozoic age for this REE-rich mineralization. These veins are hydrothermal in origin, and their REE-rich nature must depend in part on the high F content of the complex fluids they precipitated from, which also contained CO2, SO2, and H2O. They represent an unusual end product of REE enrichment of Proterozoic 'A-Type' granites in Colorado, such as the Silver Plume and Pikes Peak batholiths.