Osmium Isotope Constraints on Ore Metal Recycling in Subduction Zones

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Science  15 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5439, pp. 512-516
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5439.512

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Veined peridotite xenoliths from the mantle beneath the giant Ladolam gold deposit on Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea, are 2 to 800 times more enriched in copper, gold, platinum, and palladium than surrounding depleted arc mantle. Gold ores have osmium isotope compositions similar to those of the underlying subduction-modified mantle peridotite source region, indicating that the primary origin of the metals was the mantle. Because the mantle is relatively depleted in gold, copper, and palladium, tectonic processes that enhance the advective transport and concentration of these fluid soluble metals may be a prerequisite for generating porphyry-epithermal copper-gold deposits.

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