Magnetic polarity zonation within the El Teniente copper–molybdenum porphyry deposit, central Chile - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Mineralium Deposita Year : 2010

Magnetic polarity zonation within the El Teniente copper–molybdenum porphyry deposit, central Chile

Pierrick Roperch
César Arriagada
  • Function : Author
Annick Chauvin
  • Function : Author
  • PersonId : 833411


Teniente porphyry copper deposit, the world's greatest intrusion-related Cu-Mo ore body, is hosted within basaltic-andesitic volcanic and gabbroic rocks (mafic complex). This ore body is strongly affected by multiple events of alteration/mineralization with pervasive potassic and chloritic alteration and coetaneous with associated copper mineralization. We present paleomagnetic results obtained from oriented samples at four locations within the mine and from two drill cores, 200 and 400 m long, respectively. Samples are representative of all the main hydrothermally altered rock units, with emphasis on the mafic host rock and dacitic (Teniente dacite porphyry) and dioritic porphyry intrusions. Magnetic experiments [hysteresis loop, isothermal remanent magnetization (IRM), k-T curves, thermal, and alternating field demagnetization] show the presence of prevailing magnetite. Microscope and SEM observations show two families of magnetite, (a) large multidomain magnetite grains, associated with biotite and chlorite of various different hydrothermal alteration events, and (b) abundant small to medium grain-size magnetite (< 10 mu m) contained within plagioclase, either related to an early Na-Ca-Fe alteration or included within plagioclase during magmatic crystal growth. While the Teniente dacite porphyry and the quartz diorite-tonalite have low magnetic susceptibility (< 0.0005 SI) and low natural remanent magnetization (NRM, 10(-4)-10(-3) Am-1), the mineralized mafic host rocks have usually high susceptibility (> 0.01 and up to 0.2 SI) with NRM in the range 0.1-2 Am-1. Most mafic complex rock samples have univectorial magnetizations during alternating field or thermal demagnetization. Within the mine, the magnetic polarity is spatially distributed. In the northern part of the deposit, the Teniente dacite porphyry, the associated hydrothermal breccias, and the hosting mafic complex record a reverse polarity magnetization, also observed in the El Teniente sub-6 mine sector immediately to the east and southeast. In the eastern part of the deposit, a normal polarity is observed for samples of the mafic complex from the two long drill cores. There is no evidence for superimposed magnetizations of opposite polarities in samples of the mafic complex. Anhysteretic remanent magnetization (ARM) in a DC field of 40 mu T and NRM have similar magnitude and comparable behavior upon alternating field demagnetization. The well-defined strong remanent magnetizations associated with high unblocking temperatures (> 500A degrees C) indicate an acquisition of remanent magnetization during mineralization by circulating high temperature fluids related with ore deposition. Paleomagnetic results and the recorded polarity zonation suggest multiple mineralization events occurred at El Teniente, each one with its own evolution stages, superimposed within the district. These results indicate that a simplified broad four-stage model for El Teniente, as presented and overly employed by many authors, divided in (1) late magmatic, (2) main hydrothermal, (3) late hydrothermal, and (4) posthumous stage, does not recognize various short-lived single mineralization events, some superimposed and some distinctly separated in time and space. There is no paleomagnetic evidence for post-mineralization deformation.

Dates and versions

insu-00573332 , version 1 (03-03-2011)



N. Astudillo, Pierrick Roperch, Brian Townley, César Arriagada, Annick Chauvin. Magnetic polarity zonation within the El Teniente copper–molybdenum porphyry deposit, central Chile. Mineralium Deposita, 2010, 45 (1), pp.23-41. ⟨10.1007/s00126-009-0256-0⟩. ⟨insu-00573332⟩
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