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Epithermal Ag-(Au)-Zn-Pb mineralisation in the northern part of the Freiberg District, Germany

Swinkels, L.; Rossberg, C.; Schulz-Isenbeck, J.; Frenzel, M.ORC; Gutzmer, J.ORC; Burisch, M.
The polymetallic veins in the Freiberg district form one of the largest epithermal systems in Europe. It produced over 5600 t of Ag during active mining between 1168 and 1969. Historically, exploration focused on the centre of the district, with peripheral sub-districts exploited only to shallow depth. Recent exploration activity focuses on these peripheral regions, yet only a limited amount of modern geochemical data is available and the underlying ore-forming processes are insufficiently understood. Here, we present preliminary geochemical, fluid inclusion, and petrographic data for 55 samples from the historical mine camps of Reinsberg and Kleinvoigtsberg (northern peripheral sub-district). Samples were selected from the scientific collections of the TU Bergakademie Freiberg and collected from outcrops in the field. They include vertical profiles of two major veins extending from 18 to 532 meters below ground level. The data is combined with previous literature descriptions to develop a genetic model for the northern sector of the Freiberg district. Mineralisation in the Reinsberg and Kleinvoigtsberg mine camps is hosted by polystadial Ag-(Au)-Zn-Pb veins. The paragenetically oldest mineralisation, Stage I, is dominated by base metal sulphides and quartz; it has been encountered most prominently in the deepest levels of the historic mines. The occurrence of carbonates and the introduction of Ag-Sb sulphides and sulfosalts mark the transition to Stage IIa. At shallower mining levels, carbonate recedes and quartz returns as the major gangue mineral, indicating the transition to Stage IIb. Stage IIb vein infill is often breccia-textured and carry the highest silver grades. At the present day surface, veins consist of quartz and host rock fragments, forming a cockade breccia texture (stage III). Although no visible sulphides are present, such quartz breccias contain up to 2.5 g/t Au. Recent studies show that the main ore-forming process in the northern district seems to be cooling - causing distinct district and vein-scale zoning. Effervescence of CO2 is most likely the underlying process behind the transition from quartz to carbonate gangue. An understanding of mineral zonation and its underlying ore-forming processes can be translated into mappable exploration criteria. In this case, the highest ore grades (Ag and Au) are associated with Stage IIb (Ag-Sb-sulfosalts-quartz assemblage). This assemblage occurs always wedged between the carbonate-rich assemblage of Stage IIa (below) and the sulphide-poor quartz Stage III (above). This systematic relation may well constitute an important exploration vector for the Freiberg district.
  • Lecture (Conference)
    Geomünster 2019, 22.-25.09.2019, Münster, BRD

Publ.-Id: 30713