Towards the implementation of multi-method low-temperature thermochronometry and thermal history modeling as a tool for more efficient prospection of mineral resources in crystalline basement rocks.

01 October 2018 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Geology
Project description

This project mainly focuses on enhancing our understanding of specific supergene and hypogene
mineralization and fault reactivation. We propose to develop a multi-method thermochronologic
approach to better understand reactivation of tectonic structures and concurrent hydrothermal
remobilization of economically interesting deposits. Investigating their timing of mineralization
and preservation in these setting will result in a new or better exploration vector to exploitable
mineralizations that enhance the prospection toolkit. The case study areas are mainly located in
Thailand and Colombia. These carefully chosen study areas bear world-class mineral deposits (Au,
Sn, Nb, Ta, W, etc.) on which the local, and indeed the global economies are dependent. Insight
from so-called low-temperature thermochronology and thermal history modelling can lead to a
more environmental-friendly and sustainable mineral exploration process. The crystalline host rocks can e.g. be affected by epigene (60-200°C) ore-forming thermal events that reset the lowtemperature
thermochronometric dating system. Low-temperature thermochronometers such as
the apatite fission track method has a closure temperature (Tc) of ~100°C, while the apatite U-Th-
Sm/He dating system has an even lower closure temperature (Tc~60°C). These two dating
methods are considered techniques for future ore prospecting in exploration strategies. LA-ICP-MS
based apatite fission track dating can decrease analysis time dramatically.