Two epithermal gold deposits (Kartaldağ and Madendağ) located in NW Turkey have been characterized through the detailed examinations involving geologic, mineralogical, fluid inclusion, stable isotope, whole-rock geochemistry, and geochronology data.
The Kartaldağ deposit (0.01–17.65 ppm Au), hosted by Eocene dacite porphyry, is associated with four main alteration types with characteristic assemblage of: i) chlorite/smectite–illite ± kaolinite, ii) quartz–kaolinite, iii) quartz–alunite–pyrophyllite, iv) quartz–pyrite, the last being characterized by three distinct quartz generations comprising massive/vuggy (early), fine–medium grained, vug-lining (early), and banded, colloform, comb (late) textures. Observed sulfide minerals are pyrite, covellite, and sphalerite. Oxygen and sulfur isotope analyses, performed on quartz (δ18O(quartz): 7.93 to 8.95‰ and calculated δ18O(H₂O): − 7.95 to 1.49‰) and pyrite (δ34S(pyrite): − 4.8‰ and calculated δ34S(H₂S): − 6.08 to − 7.20‰) separates, suggest a meteoric water source for water in the hydrothermal fluid, and an igneous source for the sulfur dissolved in ore-related fluids. Microthermometric analyses of primary fluid inclusion assemblages performed on quartz (late quartz generation) yield temperatures (Th) dominantly in the range of 245–285 °C, and generally low salinity values at 0 to 1.7 wt.% NaCl eq. Based on the quartz textures and the associated base metal concentrations, along with fluid inclusion petrography, the early vug-lining quartz is considered to have been associated with the mineralization possibly through a boiling and a late mixing process at > 285 °C.
The Madendağ deposit (0.27–20.60 ppm Au), hosted by Paleozoic mica schists, is associated with two main alteration types: sericite–illite–kaolinite, and quartz–pyrite dominated by two distinct quartz generations i) early colloform, comb and banded quartz and ii) late quartz, forming the cement in hydrothermal breccia. Whereas oxygen isotope analyses of quartz (δ18O(quartz): 9.55 to 18.19‰ and calculated δ18O(H₂O): − 2.97 to 5.54‰) suggest varying proportions of meteoric and magmatic sources for the ore bearing fluid, sulfur isotope ratios (δ34S(pyrite): − 2.2‰ and calculated δ34S(H₂S): (− 3.63) to (− 3.75) ‰) point to an essentially magmatic source for sulfur with or without contribution from sedimentary sources. Microthermometric analysis carried out on primary fluid inclusion populations of a brecciated sample (early quartz), give a temperature (Th) range of 235–255 °C and 0.0 to 0.7 wt.% NaCl eq. salinity. Based on the textural relationship, base metal and high gold contents, the ore precipitation stage is associated with late stage quartz formation via a possible boiling process.
The presence of alunite, pyrophyllite and kaolinite, vuggy quartz and covellite suggest a high-sulfidation type of epithermal deposit for Kartaldağ. On the other hand, Madendağ is identified as an adularia-sericite type owing to the presence of significant sericite, neutral pH clays (mostly illite, chlorite/smectite, and kaolinite), low temperature quartz textures (e.g., colloform, comb, and banded quartz), and limited sulfide minerals.
Given the geographical proximity of Kartaldağ and Madendağ deposits, the similar temperature and salinity ranges obtained from their fluid inclusions, and the similar ages of igneous rocks in both deposits (Kartaldağ: 40.80 ± 0.36 to 42.19 ± 0.45 Ma, Madendağ: 43.34 ± 0.85 Ma) the mineralizing systems in both deposits are considered to be genetically related.
Highlights ► Two closely-spaced epithermal gold deposits (Kartaldağ and Madendağ) in NW Turkey are investigated and compared genetically. ► While the former is hosted by Eocene dacite, the latter is by Paleozoic mica schist. ► Mineralogy, stable isotope, fluid inclusion, whole-rock geochemistry, and geochronology data detail their geochemical characteristics.