Evolution of a Carboniferous carbonate-hosted sphalerite breccia deposit, Isle of Man

K. Shelton, Justin M. Beasley, J. Gregg, M. Appold, S. Crowley, James P. Hendry, I. Somerville

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A newly discovered, extensive sphalerite-bearing breccia (~7.5 wt.% Zn) is hosted in dolomitised Carboniferous limestones overlying Ordovician–Silurian metasedimentary rocks on the Isle of Man. Although base metal sulphide deposits have been mined historically on the island, they are nearly all quartz vein deposits in the metamorphic basement. This study investigates the origin of the unusual sphalerite breccia and its relationship to basement-hosted deposits, through a combination of petrographic, cathodoluminescence, fluid inclusion, stable isotope and hydrogeologic modelling techniques. Breccia mineralisation comprises four stages, marked by episodes of structural deformation and abrupt changes in fluid temperature and chemistry. In stage I, high-temperature (T h > 300°C), high-salinity (20–45 wt.% equiv. NaCl) fluid of likely basement origin deposited a discontinuous quartz vein. This vein was subsequently dismembered during a major brecciation event. Stages II–IV are dominated by open-space filling sphalerite, quartz and dolomite, respectively. Fluid inclusions in these minerals record temperatures of ~105–180°C and salinities of ~15–20 wt.% equiv. NaCl. The δ34S values of sphalerite (6.5–6.9‰ Vienna-Canyon Diablo troilite) are nearly identical to those of ore sulphides from mines in the Lower Palaeozoic metamorphic rocks. The δ18O values for quartz and dolomite indicate two main fluid sources in the breccia’s hydrothermal system, local Carboniferous-hosted brines (~0.5–6.0‰ Vienna standard mean ocean water) and basement-involved fluids (~5.5–11.5‰). Ore sulphide deposition in the breccia is compatible with the introduction and cooling of a hot, basement-derived fluid that interacted with local sedimentary brines.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)859-880
    Number of pages22
    JournalMineralium Deposita
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


    Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of a Carboniferous carbonate-hosted sphalerite breccia deposit, Isle of Man'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this