Is the Bayan Obo ore deposit a micrite mound? A comparison with the Sailinhudong micrite mound

The origin of the Bayan Obo ore deposit, the largest REE deposit in the world, has long been debated and various hypotheses have been proposed. Among them is that the Bayan Obo ore deposit is correlated with and has the same origin as the Sailinhudong micrite mound in the southern limb of the Bayan...

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Published in: International geology review Vol. 56; no. 14; pp. 1720 - 1731
Main Authors: Sun, Jian, Zhu, Xiangkun, Chen, Yuelong, Fang, Nan, Li, Shizhen
Format: Journal Article
Language: English
Published: Taylor & Francis 10-26-2014
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Summary: The origin of the Bayan Obo ore deposit, the largest REE deposit in the world, has long been debated and various hypotheses have been proposed. Among them is that the Bayan Obo ore deposit is correlated with and has the same origin as the Sailinhudong micrite mound in the southern limb of the Bayan Obo synclinorium. To test this model, the Bayan Obo ore deposit and the Sailinhudong micrite mound are systematically compared for their geological features, elemental geochemistry, and C, O, and Mg isotopic geochemistry. We show that the Bayan Obo ore deposit and the Sailinhudong micrite mound are both calcareous, lens-like in shape, lack bedding features, and are both hosted in a sedimentary formation that consists of clastic sediments and carbonates, unconformably overlying the Archaean-Palaeoproterozoic crystalline basement. However, their geochemical characteristics differ markedly. Compared with the Sailinhudong micrite carbonates, the Bayan Obo ore-hosting dolomite marbles are strongly enriched in LREEs, Ba, Th, Nb, Pb, and Sr, and have very different (PAAS)-normalized REE patterns. Sailinhudong micrite carbonates have higher δ 13 C PDB and δ 18 O SMOW values, falling into the typical sedimentary field, but the Bayan Obo ore-hosting dolomites are isotopically intermediate between primary igneous carbonatite and typical sedimentary limestone. The δ 26  Mg values of the Sailinhudong micrite carbonates are lighter than those of normal Mesoproterozoic sedimentary dolostone, while those of the Bayan Obo ore-hosting dolomite marble are isotopically heavier, similar to δ 26  Mg of mantle xenoliths and Bayan Obo intrusive carbonatite. We conclude that the Bayan Obo ore deposit is not correlated with the Sailinhudong micrite mound; it is neither a micrite mound nor an altered micrite mound.
ISSN: 0020-6814
1938-2839
DOI: 10.1080/00206814.2014.955828