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Zircon and apatite as potential indicator minerals for mineral exploration

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posted on 2022-11-11, 02:46 authored by Michelle Joanne Moxey

The analysis of indicator minerals, such as apatite and zircon, is a useful method in mineral exploration for assessing the prosperity of a host rock. Previous studies have demonstrated the usefulness of apatite trace element signatures for identifying mineralisation-related granitoids in the Mount Isa Inlier of northwestern Queensland, a region well-known for its Pb-Zn-Ag, Cu, and Cu- Au deposits. Extending on previous work, this study investigates both zircons and apatites from the same Mt Isa rock suites and uses trace-element signatures, U-Pb, Sr, and Hf isotopes to demonstrate the applicability of the zircon-apatite mineral pair for distinguishing mineralisation-related and mineralisation-absent granitoids. Geochronological studies reveal a ~1345 Ma hydrothermal event that is recorded in the apatite and is ~200 Ma years younger than the zircon U-Pb ages for the mineralisation-related granitoids. REE patterns and coupled-dissolution precipitation microstructures in the zircons are similarly suggestive of hydrothermal alteration of the granites. Comparison of the Hf, Sr, and Nd isotopic systems indicates an analogous magma source for the studied plutons, signifying that the mineralisation is most likely not related to the granitic magmatism, but rather associated with a later hydrothermal event. 


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Methods -- 3. Results -- 4. Discussion -- 5. Conclusions -- References -- Appendix


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science of Engineering, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 2022

Department, Centre or School

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Elena Belousova

Additional Supervisor 1

Nathan Daczko


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




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