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Petrogenesis of gold-bearing listvenites from the carbonatized mantle section of the Neoproterozoic Ess ophiolite, Western Arabian Shield, Saudi Arabia

Gahlan, Hisham A. and Azer, Mokhles K. and Asimow, Paul D. and Al-Kahtany, Khaled M. (2020) Petrogenesis of gold-bearing listvenites from the carbonatized mantle section of the Neoproterozoic Ess ophiolite, Western Arabian Shield, Saudi Arabia. Lithos, 372-373 . Art. No. 105679. ISSN 0024-4937.

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The variably serpentinized mantle peridotites of the Late Neoproterozoic Ess ophiolite (Western Saudi Arabia) are highly altered along shear zones and thrust planes to form erosion-resistant listvenites. The listvenites are distinguished petrographically and geochemically into three types: carbonate, silica-carbonate and silica (birbirite) listvenites. Geochemical analyses are consistent with expectations from petrography: carbonate listvenite is low in SiO₂ content but high in MgO, Fe₂O₃, and CaO relative to silica-carbonate and birbirite, which is remarkably high in SiO₂ at the expense of all other components. The total REE contents are low in silica-carbonate and carbonate listvenites but highly enriched in birbirite, with a large positive Eu anomaly. The host serpentinites have all the characteristics typically associated with highly depleted mantle harzburgite protoliths in supra-subduction fore-arc settings: bulk compositions are low in Al₂O₃ and CaO with high Mg# [molar Mg/(Mg + Fe)], relict Cr-spinel has high Cr# [molar Cr/(Cr + Al)] and low TiO₂, and relict olivine has high Mg# and NiO content. The Cr-spinel relics are also found in the listvenites; those in serpentinite and carbonate listvenites have significantly higher Mg# than those in silica-carbonate and birbirite, suggesting re-equilibration of Cr-spinel in the later phases of listvenitization. The varieties of listvenite capture successive stages of fluid-mediated replacement reactions. The carbonate listvenite appears to have developed syn-contemporaneously with serpentinization, whereas silica-carbonate listvenite and birbirite formed later. The listvenite formation resulted in leaching and removal of some components accompanied by deposition of others in the solid products, notably CO₃, SiO₂, REE (especially Eu), Au, Zn, As, Sb and K. Our data show that listvenitization concentrated gold at sub-economic to economic grades; measured gold concentrations in the host serpentinite are 0.5–1.7 ng/g, versus 4–2569 ng/g in carbonate listvenite, 43–3117 ng/g in silica-carbonate listvenite and 5–281 ng/g in birbirite. The listvenite deposits in the Jabal Ess area merit further exploration for gold.

Item Type:Article
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Azer, Mokhles K.0000-0002-3711-8630
Asimow, Paul D.0000-0001-6025-8925
Additional Information:© 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V. Received 12 June 2020, Revised 2 July 2020, Accepted 3 July 2020, Available online 12 July 2020. Special thanks are paid to King Saud University, Deanship of Scientific Research, Research Group No. RG-1436-036, for their support. PDA acknowledges support from the US NSF, award EAR-1947616. The authors are also indebted to the editor (Prof. Michael Roden) and two anonymous reviewers for their efforts and numerous helpful comments. Declaration of Competing Interest: The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
King Saud UniversityRG-1436-036
Subject Keywords:Arabian Shield; Ophiolite; Listvenite; Fuchsite; Sulphides; Gold
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200713-122453085
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Official Citation:Hisham A. Gahlan, Mokhles K. Azer, Paul D. Asimow, Khaled M. Al-Kahtany, Petrogenesis of gold-bearing listvenites from the carbonatized mantle section of the Neoproterozoic Ess ophiolite, Western Arabian Shield, Saudi Arabia, Lithos, Volumes 372–373, 2020, 105679, ISSN 0024-4937, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104355
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:13 Jul 2020 20:13
Last Modified:24 Jul 2020 22:31

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