Applications of fluid inclusions in the study and exploration of mineral deposits
European Journal of Mineralogy Volume 3 Number 4 (1991), p. 689 - 702
published: Aug 27, 1991
ArtNo. ESP147050304006, Price: 29.00 €
Abstract Fluid inclusions (FI) trapped in minerals represent the most direct evidence of the fluid phase attending a large variety of geological phenomena. Therefore, their investigation finds increasing application in many facets of the Earth sciences, and most notably in the study and exploration of mineral deposits. FI have provided critical data for understanding the genesis of many diverse types of ore deposits. Prominent examples include porphyry systems, MVT deposits, quartz-Au veins in metamorphic terrains, and precious metal epithermal deposits. The potential impact of FI data is greatest if 1) it is possible to exactly correlate the time of inclusion trapping with the paragenetic sequence of minerals in the deposit; 2) the composition of the fluid and its relevant thermodynamic properties are known; and 3) FI data are combined with other geochemical information such as isotope studies and mineral chemistry. A large amount of relevant information can be obtained from FI using relatively simple microthermometric techniques. These data are being supplemented increasingly by more complex analyses of inclusion compositions. In addition of providing the basis for the construction of quantitative genetic models, which may provide important insights for exploration, FI have proven valuable as direct prospecting tools where an empirical correlation can be established between a FI property and the occurrence of mineralized bodies. Future developments in FI research may entail: 1) improvements in analytical techniques; 2) better understanding of trapping mechanisms and post-trapping modifications; and 3) enlargement of the thermodynamic data base for systems representative of trapped fluids. Especially in the latter two cases, significant progress is expected from studies of synthetic inclusions.