Insights into the metamorphic history and origin of flake graphite mineralization at the Graphite Creek graphite deposit, Seward Peninsula, Alaska, USA
Graphite Creek is an unusual flake graphite deposit located on the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, USA. We present field observations, uranium-lead (U–Pb) monazite and titanite geochronology, carbon (C) and sulfur (S) stable isotope geochemistry, and graphite Raman spectroscopy data from this deposit that support a new model of flake graphite ore genesis in high-grade metamorphic environments. The Graphite Creek deposit is within the second sillimanite metamorphic zone of the Kigluaik Mountains gneiss dome. Flake graphite, hosted in sillimanite-gneiss and quartz-biotite paragneiss, occurs as disseminations and in sets of very high grade (up to 50 wt.% graphite), semi-massive to massive graphite lenses 0.2 to 1 m wide containing quartz, sillimanite, inclusions of garnet porphyroblasts, K-feldspar, and tourmaline. Restitic garnet, sillimanite, graphite, and biotite accumulations indicate a high degree of anatexis and melt loss. Strong yttrium depletion in monazite, high europium ratios (Eu/Eu*), and excursions of high strontium and thorium concentrations are consistent with biotite dehydration melting. Monazite and titanite U–Pb ages record peak metamorphism from ~ 97 to 92 million years ago (Ma) and a retrograde event at ~ 85 Ma. Raman spectroscopy confirms the presence of carbonaceous material and highly ordered, crystalline graphite. Graphite δ13CVPDB values of − 30 to − 12‰ and pyrrhotite δ34SVCDT values of − 14 to 10‰ are consistent with derivation from organic carbon and sulfur in sedimentary rocks, respectively. These data collectively suggest that formation of massive graphite lenses occurred approximately synchronously with high-temperature metamorphism and anatexis of a highly carbonaceous pelitic protolith. Melt extraction and fluid release associated with anatexis were likely crucial for concentrating graphite. High-temperature, graphitic migmatite sequences within high-strain shear zones may be favorable for the occurrence of high-grade flake graphite deposits.
|Insights into the metamorphic history and origin of flake graphite mineralization at the Graphite Creek graphite deposit, Seward Peninsula, Alaska, USA
|George N. D. Case, Susan M. Karl, Sean P. Regan, Craig A. Johnson, Eric T Ellison, Jonathan Caine, Christopher Holm-Denoma, Laura Pianowski, Jeff A. Benowitz
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals; Central Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center; Geology, Geophysics, and Geochemistry Science Center