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Outline

Describing breccias Overview of genetic classes for breccias

Emphasis on breccias from epithermal and porphyry deposits


Magmatichydrothermal
Volcanichydrothermal

Hydrothermal (phreatic)

Definitions
Hydrothermal breccia:
Clastic, coarse-grained aggregate generated by the interaction of hydrothermal fluid with magma and/or wallrocks

Infill:
Material that has filled the space between clasts in breccias
Breccias can have two infill components crystalline cement or clastic matrix

2 cm

Breccia Description and Interpretation


First breccias should be described in terms of their components, texture, morphology and contact relationships
The next step is genetic interpretation, which can be difficult and often leads to problems

Breccia Description
Ideal combination:
5
Alteration

+4
Internal organisation

+3
Components A+B+C+D

+2
Grainsize

+1
Geometry

Minimum Combination: 4 + 3 + 2

1) Geometry
pipe, cone, dyke, vein, bed, irregular, tabular... Contact relationships: sharp, gradational, faulted, irregular, planar, concordant, discordant
Bat Cave breccia pipe, Northern Arizona. (Wenrich, 1985)

Breccia Description
5
Alteration

+4
Internal organisation

+3
Components A+B+C+D

+2
Grainsize

+1
Geometry

2) Grainsize
breccia (> 2mm), sandstone (1/16 2 mm) or mudstone (< 1/16 mm) The term breccia is derived from sedimentology, where it refers to clastic rocks composed of large angular clasts (granules, cobbles and boulders) with or without a sandy or muddy matrix

Monomictic sericite-altered diorite clast breccia with roscoelite-quartz cement, Porgera, PNG

Breccia Description
5
Alteration

+4
Internal organisation

+3
Components A+B+C+D

+2
Grainsize

+1
Geometry

3) Components A: clasts
monomict or polymict Composition: lithic, vein, breccia, juvenile magmatic, accretionary lapilli, mineralised, altered Morphology: angular, subangular, subround, round, faceted, tabular, equant

Polymictic trachyandesite clast-rich sand matrix breccia, Cowal, NSW

Breccia Description
5
Alteration

+4
Internal organisation

+3
Components A+B+C+D

+2
Grainsize

+1
Geometry

3) Components: INFILL B: matrix


Mud to sand to breccia-sized particles Crystal fragments, lithic fragments, vein fragments Textures: bedded laminated banded foliated massive
Polymictic diorite clast breccia with pyrite-quartz-roscoelite cement and roscoelite-altered mud matrix, Porgera, PNG

Breccia Description
5
Alteration

+4
Internal organisation

+3
Components A+B+C+D

+2
Grainsize

+1
Geometry

3) Components: INFILL C: cement


Ore & gangue mineralogy Grainsize Alteration textures: cockade, massive, drusy, etc.

D: open space (vugs)


Rhodochrosite-kaolinite cemented mudstone-clast breccia Kelian, Indonesia

Breccia Description
5
Alteration

+4
Internal organisation

+3
Components A+B+C+D

+2
Grainsize

+1
Geometry

4) Internal Organisation
Clast, matrix or cement-supported

Clast, matrix and cement abundances


Massive, bedded, laminated or graded Clast distribution: In-situ (jigsaw-fit) Rotated Chaotic
Sericite-altered polymictic sand-matrix breccia, Braden Pipe, El Teniente, Chile

Breccia Description
5
Alteration

+4
Internal organisation

+3
Components A+B+C+D

+2
Grainsize

+1
Geometry

5) Alteration
Clasts, matrix or cement

Alteration paragenesis (pre-, syn- and post-brecciation)

Sericite-altered polymictic sand matrix breccia, Braden Pipe, El Teniente, Chile

Breccia Genesis
More than one process can be involved in breccia formation
Hydrothermal Breccias

Volcanic Breccias

Magma intrusion into hydrothermal system

Magmatic-hydrothermal breccias
Stockwork veins

Magmatic Breccias
Igneouscemented breccias

This overlap means that genetic Phreatic breccias terminology is generally applied inconsistently

Structural control on breccia location

Tectonic Breccias

Fault breccias & brecciated veins

Breccias in Hydrothermal Systems


1: Magmatichydrothermal breccias Permeability enhancement through the formation of a subsurface breccia body allows for focussed fluid flow Containment and focussing of volatiles Volatile-saturated intrusion undergoes catastrophic brittle failure due to hydrostatic pressure exceeding lithostatic load and the tensile strength of the wallrocks

magmatichydrothermal ore formation

Characteristic Features
Angular clasts -implies limited clast transport & abrasion Juvenile clasts (?) Variable amounts of clastic matrix High temperature alteration rinds (clasts) and altered matrix
Tourmaline-chalcopyrite cement, Rio Blanco

Open space fill textures

Polymict tourmaline breccia, Sierra Gorda, Chile

Characteristic Features

Chalcopyrite-cemented monzonite clast breccia, Mt Polley, British Columbia

Locally abundant hydrothermal cement (biotite, tourmaline, quartz, sulfides, etc)

Magmatic-hydrothermal breccia

Tourmaline-quartz cemented, sericite-altered, diorite clast breccia

Sulfide Mineralisation Styles

Altered clasts

cement

vein

Hydrothermal cement

Alteration of rock flour


Alteration of clasts
Tourmaline breccia, Ro Blanco, Chile

Cross-cutting veins

Magmatic-hydrothermal breccia

Vein Halo

tm bx

tm vein halo

Sierra Gorda tourmaline breccia, Chile

Vein Halo

tm vein halo

tourmaline breccia, Peru

Tabular clasts
Aspect ratios of clasts can attain 1:30

Providencia cp-tourmaline breccia, Inca de Oro, Chile

In many cases, tabular shape does not relate to closely spaced jointing or bedding

Orientations change from sub-vertical on pipe margins to sub-horizontal in the central region
Tourmaline-quartz breccia, La Zanja, Peru

Breccias in Hydrothermal Systems


2: Volcanic-hydrothermal breccias
Clastic matrix & milled clasts abundant
Surficial and subsurface breccia deposits Bedded and massive breccia facies Venting of volatiles to the surface death of a porphyry
Late intrusion into active hydrothermal system

Volcanichydrothermal breccia complex

2 - 5 km paleodepth

deposit

shortcut to the

epithermal environment

Diatremes
wet pyroclastic eruptions
Modified after Lorenz, 1973

0m Water Table depressed

> 2500 m

Increasing eruption depth

Common association of diatremes with magmatichydrothermal ore deposits (e.g., Kelian, Martabe, Cripple Creek)

Characteristics of Volcanic-Hydrothermal Breccias


Braden Pipe surficial? bedded facies (courtesy Francisco Camus)

Abundant fine grained altered clastic matrix (massive to

stratified)

Rounded to angular heterolithic clasts, typically matrixsupported Generally significant clast abrasion & transport (mixing of

wallrock clasts transport upwards and downwards)

Surficial pyroclastic base surge deposits


Subsurface polymictic sand-matrix breccia, Braden Pipe, El Teniente

Phreatomagmatic breccia juvenile quartz-phyric rhyolite clasts, Kelian, Indonesia

Characteristic features
Juvenile clasts Mineralised and altered clasts Surficial-derived clasts (e.g., logs,

charcoal, etc.)

Complex facies relationships Limited open space little or no

hydrothermal cement

0.5 cm

Chalcopyrite clasts, Balatoc diatreme, Acupan Au mine, Philippines

Kelian, Indonesia

Base surge deposits

Diatreme breccia

QFP intrusion

150 m

Volcaniclastic sst / slt

Breccias in Hydrothermal Systems


3: Hydrothermal breccias phreatic
Phreatic breccias: in-situ subsurface and surficial brecciation matrix can be abundant

(jig-saw fit to rotated to chaotic textures)

Phreatic steam explosions caused by decompression of hydrothermal fluid No direct magmatic involvement epithermal gold deposition

Phreatic Breccias
Hydrothermal steam explosions that breach the surface will generate pyroclastic ejecta, but lack a juvenile magmatic component The resultant hydrothermal eruption deposits are bedded and have low aspect ratios The deposits have a poor preservation potential
Eruption of Waimungu Geyser, 1904 (Sillitoe, 1985)

Phreatic Breccias

Porkchop Geyser, post-eruption, 1992, Yellowstone

Waiotapu Geothermal Area, New Zealand

Phreatic Eruption Breccias

Champagne pool, Waiotapu, New Zealand

Hydrothermal Breccias: Mineralised


High to low temperature hydrothermal fluids Structural complexity Open space fill Multiple generations Gangue and ore minerals

Altered & mineralised andesite clasts, with sulfide and sulfosalt cockade banding, Mt Muro, Indonesia

Hydrothermal breccia, Peru

Hydrothermal Breccias

Lihir, Papua New Guinea

Kelian, Indonesia

Hydrothermal Breccias

20 cm 2 cm

, Peru

Hydrothermal Breccias

Breccias in Hydrothermal Systems


3: Vein breccias
Vein breccias: clasts within veins, from wallrocks or existing parts of vein
Structural opening and hydrothermal fluid pressure No direct magmatic involvement epithermal deposition

Vein breccia,, Peru

Hydrothermal Breccias

Kencana, Indonesia

Vein Breccias
What do these textures mean?

Why are they important?

Stage I breccia cockade texture


Stage Ia ore
FW

Stage Ib ore

Stage 1b ore

30 cm

HW

(Gemmell et al., 1988)

Stage II breccia cockade texture


Stage II non-ore
FW

Stage II non-ore

30 cm

Stage II non-ore

Stage IV non-ore

HW
20 cm 20 cm

(Gemmell et al., 1988)

Stage III banding crustiform texture


Stage III ore
FW

Stage III ore

HW

(Gemmell et al., 1988)

Stage IV massive infill with vugs


Stage IV non-ore
FW

Stage IV non-ore

5 cm

HW

10 cm

(Gemmell et al., 1988)

Santo Nino vein


Long Section

(Gemmell,1986 & Gemmell et al., 1988)

30 cm

20 cm

20 cm

Stage I ore

Stage II non-ore

Stage III ore

Stage IV non-ore

Conclusions
Magmatic-hydrothermal breccias have high temperature cements and alteration minerals Volcanic-hydrothermal breccia complexes have bedded facies and juvenile magmatic clasts Phreatic breccia complexes may contain bedded facies, but will always lack juvenile clasts Vein breccias result from structural opening and hydrothermal fluid pressure

Anhydrite-cemented vein breccia, Acupan gold mine, Philippines

Conclusions

Hydrothermal brecciation typically involves several fragmentation processes Genetic pigeonholing of breccias can be difficult, and may not be particularly helpful Facies and structure control fluid flow and are the keys to understanding grade distribution in hydrothermal breccias
Pyrite-roscoelite-gold cemented heterolithic breccia, Porgera Gold Mine, Papua New Guinea (Sample courtesy of Standing, 2005)

Fragmentation Processes
Non-explosive
Magma
Magma intrusion
Stoping

Explosive
Magma + Internal Water
magmatic
magma exsolves steam CO2

Autoclastic
Autobrecciation

magmatic-hydrothermal
magma exsolves steam + brine

Gravitational collapse
Dissolution Magma withdrawal

Magma + External Water


phreatomagmatic
magma encounters external water

Magma + External Water


Autoclastic
Quench fragmentation Hydraulic fracture

Water + External Heat


Hydrothermal (phreatic)
Flashing of water to steam due to seal failure, seismic rupture, heat input and/or mass wasting

Tectonic
comminution, wear, abrasion, dilation, implosion