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Polyphase stratabound scheelite-ferberite mineralization at Mallnock, Eastern Alps, Austria

February 28, 2024

A peculiar type of stratabound tungsten mineralization in metacarbonate rocks was discovered and explored at Mallnock (Austria) during the late 1980s. It is the only tungsten occurrence in the Eastern Alps in which scheelite is associated with wolframite (96 mol% ferberite). The tungsten prospect is located in the Austroalpine Drauzug-Gurktal Nappe System recording polyphase low-grade regional metamorphism. Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material yield maximum metamorphic temperatures of 296 ± 27 °C and 258 ± 27 °C, which are assigned to Variscan and Eoalpine metamorphism, respectively. Scheelite and ferberite occur as polyphase stockwork-like mineralization in Fe-rich magnesite in the northern ore zone (Mallnock North), whereas in the western ore zone (Mallnock West), scheelite-quartz veinlets are exclusively hosted in dolomitic marbles. LA-ICP-MS analyses of scheelite and ferberite yield low contents of Mo, Nb, Ta, and rare earth elements, but high contents of Na and Sr. Uranium is particularly high in scheelite (up to 200 µg/g) and makes this mineral a suitable target for U–Pb dating. In situ U–Pb dating of scheelite yielded an early Permian age (294 ± 8 Ma) for Mallnock West and a Middle Triassic age (239 ± 3 Ma) for Mallnock North. A monzodioritic dike close to Mallnock yielded a U–Pb apatite date of 282 ± 9 Ma and supports the polyphase formation of this mineralization. The U–Pb scheelite ages indicate that a model for tungsten metallogeny in the Eastern Alps must also consider remobilization of tungsten by metamorphic fluids. In the Alps, the Permian to Triassic period (ca. 290–225 Ma) is characterized by an overall extensional geodynamic setting related to the breakup of Pangea. Lithospheric thinning caused higher heat flow, low-P metamorphism, and anatexis in the lower crust, which led to enhanced crustal fluid flow in the upper crust. These processes were not only responsible for the formation of metasomatic hydrothermal magnesite and siderite deposits in the Eastern Alps but also for this unique magnesite-ferberite-scheelite mineralization at Mallnock.

Publication Year 2024
Title Polyphase stratabound scheelite-ferberite mineralization at Mallnock, Eastern Alps, Austria
DOI 10.1007/s00126-024-01250-x
Authors Florian Altenberger, Joachim Krause, Niki E. Wintzer, Christoph Iglseder, Jasper Berndt, Kai Bachmann, Johann Raith
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Mineralium Deposita
Index ID 70251824
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center