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PhD project: Zonation and genesis of the Red Mountain – Red Bull skarns, Shangri-la (Zhongdian), Yunnan Province, China, and the implications to exploration

 

Supervisor: Dr. Zhaoshan Chang

July 2013

 

Background

 

The Red Mountain – Red Bull (RMRB) Cu skarn is located ~40 km NE of the Shangri-la (Zhongdian) city in NW Yunnan Province, China. It is in the middle part of the Pulang Mineral District (PMD) that is rich in porphyry-skarn mineralisation. The geographical range of the PMD is E 99°43’34’’-100°13’58’’,N 27°41’00’’-28°32’00’’. The PMD is 30-40 km wide (W-E) and ~ 100 km long (N-S), covering an area of ~3500 km2.

 

The PMD is one of the most significant porphyry-skarn districts in China. It contains numerous porphyry-style and skarn deposits and prospects. The larger ones include the Pulang porphyry deposit (~5 Mt Cu metal averaging ~1% Cu), the Xuejiping porphyry deposit (~2 Mt of Cu metal) and the RMRB skarns. The Red Mountain Cu skarn contains ~ 230,000 tonnes of Cu metal (Yunnan Bureau No. 7 Geological Team, 1971), and the Red Bull Cu skarn nearby and likely to be of the same system contains ~350,000 tonnes of Cu metal (Yunnan Copper, 2011). These are Large (>0.5 Mt Cu metal) and Super-Large (>2.5 Mt Cu metal) deposits in Chinese standard.

 

The PMD is located in the southern part of the Yidun Island Arc (YIA; Zhang Zhimeng, 1979), which in turn is in the Three River Tectonomagmatic Belt (Hou Zengqian et al., 1991, 1993, 1995; Mo Xuanxue et al., 1993), a belt rich in magma-related hydrothermal mineral deposits. The YIA is within the Tethys tectonic domain, and has gone through Indosinian subduction, late Yanshanian collision and Himalayan strike-slip orogeny (Hou Zengqian et al., 1991, 1993, 1995; Mo Xuanxue et al., 1993).

 

The project

 

Despite the large size of the deposit, there has been little systematic research on the RMRB skarns. This project will document the geological and geochemical features, investigate the zoning patterns and paragenesis, infer the genesis, and find out the major controls on mineralization to help with further exploration. The project will focus on:

 

  1. Intrusive sequences and the causative intrusion features
  2. Features of wall rocks, alteration, and mineralization
  3. Zoning patterns and controlling factors (e.g., Meinert, 1997; Chang and Meinert, 2008) in mineralogy, texture, Short Wave Length Infra-Red (SWIR) spectral features (e.g., Chang and Yang, 2012, and references therein), mineral chemistry (major and trace, e.g., Chang et al., 2011), and isotopic signatures.
  4. Paragenesis of alteration, mineralization and other events
  5. Evolution of the hydrothermal fluids in physicochemical conditions (P, T), in composition (salinity, single fluid compositions) and fluid nature (magmatic, meteoric, mixed), and its relationship with mineralization.

 

This project will use the following techniques: mapping, drill core logging, SWIR spectral techniques, BSE, CL, microprobe, XRD, fluid inclusion thermometric techniques, LA-ICP-MS analysis of minerals and single fluid inclusions, trace element mapping using microprobe, PIXE or LA-ICP-MS, dating, and stable isotopes (O, H, S, C, Cu, Fe, Zn).

 

The project will be supported by James Cook University, a China Geological Survey project at China University of Geosciences, Beijing, and the State Key Laboratory of Ore Deposit Geochemistry (Guiyang) open research fund.

 

Application

 

International students whose native language is not English need to meet the JCU English requirements (http://www.jcu.edu.au/international/apply/entry/JCUPRD1_073732.html) to be eligible to apply.

 

The application deadlines for the JCU Postgraduate Research Scholarship (JPRS; provides living allowance) and the International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS; covers international student tuition fees and medical insurance) is 30 August. Please see details at http://www.jcu.edu.au/international/scholarships/JCUPRD_016792.html.

 

Chinese students may also apply for CSC (Chinese Scholarship Council) scholarship. The deadline is 9 February each year. Results will be announced by 30 May. Students are expected to start in September or later the same year. For details, please see http://www.jcu.edu.au/grs/scholarships/JCUDEV_015568.html

 

Please send CV, informal transcripts, statement of research interests and career goals, English test results, and publications or thesis for initial evaluation before submitting scholarship applications.