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Economic Geology Vol 79, 1984, pp.

638-655

Gold Deposits and Hydrothermal Eruption BrecciasAssociated with a Maar Volcano at Wau, Papua New Guinea
RICHARD H. SILLITOE,
8 WestHill Park, HighgateVillage, LondonN6 6ND, England

E. MAX BAKER, E. M. Bakerand Associates Pty. Ltd., 115 Ross River Road,Mundingburra, Townsville 4812, Australia
AND WILLIAM A. BROOK

Geopacific Services Pty. Ltd., P.O. Box 619, North Sydney, New SouthWales2060, Australia
Abstract

The Wau districthasproducedmuchof the 18 metrictons(0.58 millionoz) of lode gold attributedto the Morobe goldfieldin PapuaNew Guinea.Geologicmappingandreappraisal of the districthave shownthat Plioceneepithermalgold mineralization wasassociated with generationof a maar volcanoand associated endogenous domes. Emplacement of endogenous domes anderuption ofpyroclastic flows in the Morobe goldfield tookplacein the intervalfrom 4 to 2.4 m.y. ago.An undateddomeat Edie Creek is spatially, and perhapstemporally,associated with lode gold mineralization. During the later part of this time interval,followingtilting of the ignimbritepile, a maar wasgenerated at Wau. The subjacent diatremeis believedto extenddownwardfor about 1 km to a regional dip-slipfaultzonewhichhosts deeperlevel goldmineralization at the nearby Ribroaster mine. Interactionof daciticmagmaand groundwater in depth on the fault zone caused a seriesof hydrovolcanic explosions which resultedin pyroclastic deposits of ballistic fall and basesurgeorigin, the latter carryingabundantaccretionary lapilli. The pyroclastics accumulated within the maar and constructed an encirclingtuff ring, only a smallpart of which is preservedoverlyingLate Cretaceous-Paleogene phyllitesto the southand west of
the maar.

Followinginitial maarformation,hydrothermal brecciationandgold deposition were controlled by low-angleextensional faultswhich developedduring incipient subsidence of a wedgeof poorlysupported rockbetweenthe regionalfaultzoneandthe ring faultdelimiting the maar. Fluid overpressures, which developedat depthsof >100 m beneathself-sealed caprocks, triggeredhydrothermal eruptions whichgaveriseto a ramifying system of irregular veinsandbodies of hydrothermal brecciasurmounted by subaerially deposited brecciaaprons. Self-sealing was caused by early gold-bearing calcite-manganocalcite-quartz vein mineralization,nowfoundasfragments in breccia conduits andaprons. Laterstages of golddeposition, accompanied by the samegangueassemblage, occurredin gently dipping,lenticularlodes and overlyingstockworks, manyof them hostedby hydrothermal breccias. During the late stages of, and after, accumulation of pyroclastic fall and surgedeposits, epiclastic sedimentation waswidespread in the maar.It gaveriseto reworkedbreccias, grits, andprominentorganic-rich mudstones deposited in ephemeral lakes.Hydrothermalactivity at this time produced subaqueous chert-pyritebedsand possibly subaerial hot springsinter andtravertine and,in depth,a quartz-calcite-kaolinite-smectite-(illite) alteration assemblage. No significant goldis presentin anyof thesehydrothermal products. Volatile-depleted magmareachedthe surfacearoundthe perimeter of the maar during activesedimentation and constructed two principalendogenous domes,one daciticand the other andesitic. The daciticdome, dated previouslyat 2.4 m.y., gave rise to an apron of crumblebrecciaalongthe northwestern edge of the maar. Accumulation of the intramaarsequence was accompanied and followedby widespread subsidence and slumping whichresultedin steepdipsandlocallyoverturned beds.On completionof the filling of the maar,coherent blocks of basement phyllite slid for distances of as much as 1 km into the maar from its steepwesternwall. Someof these slideblocksare overlainby remnants of the tuff ring and carry hydrothermal brecciasand economically importantgold mineralization, all mechanically transported to their presentpositions. At this time, an opal-pyrite-marcasite horizonwas formingat a boiling water table, with an overlying cristobalite-kaolinite-alunite zone believed to be a product of acid leaching

0361-0128/84/300/638-1852.50

638

Au DEPOSITS AND HYDROTHERMALERUPTIONBRECCIAS, PAPUANEW GUINEA

659

causedby dissolution of boiled-offH2S in cool groundwaters.This alterationlacksgold mineralization, exceptwhere it overprints a gold-bearing allochthonous slideblock. The regionaldrainage system eventually breachedthe craterrim andresultedin deposition of channel conglomerates and fiuviolacustrine beds,all carryingalluvialgold.Radiocarbon datingof wood from this unit showed that it accumulated >42,000 yearsago. The mostrecentevents at Wau arebelievedto be a series of hydrothermal eruptions which constructed a composite brecciaapronat Koranga crater on the southeastern edge of the maar.The mostrecent eruptionis tentativelyinferredto have taken placein 1967.

lowing the location of extraordinarilyrich alluvial at nearbyUpperEdie Creek (Fig. 3) in 1926, MARKEDLY increasedgold prices since 1979 have deposits the district became the focus of one of the world's focused renewedattentionon high-level,epithermal (Nelson,1976). Exceptfor the preciousmetal deposits. It has recently been em- lastgreatgoldrushes

Introduction

phasized that a significant numberof suchdeposits are intimately related to a variety of little-eroded volcaniclandforms (R. H. SillitoeandH. F. Bonham, Jr., unpub.data).One of theseis a maarvolcano,the surface manifestation ofa diatreme. The writers'geologic mappingand reappraisal of the Wau sectorof the Morobegoldfieldin PapuaNew Guinea(Fig. 1) have demonstrated that epithermalgold mineralization accompanied hydrothermalbrecciationas part of the late-stage development of a typicalmaarvolcano.

war years, goldhasbeenproduced fromthe Morobe

goldfield eversince, although since thelate 1950s {n


reduced amounts. To date the production has amountedto about 120 metric tons (3.8 million oz), some 15 percent of it from lode deposits(Fisher, 1975; Lowenstein, 1982). Small-scale open pit mining at Wau is currently

conducted by New GuineaGoldfields Limited,since late 1981 a subsidiary of RenisonGoldfieldsConsolidatedLimited of Australia, and a small amount bf

alluvialgoldisrecovered asa resultof groundsluicing Gold was discoveredat Wau in 1922 by W. both by the company andby privateindividuals, in"Sharkeye"Park, an Australianprospector, and fol- cludingtributors.Annualproduction by the company
E.144
0
i i

100 km 300
i

li0 n

Port

FIC. 1. Location of Wau with respectto Pliocene-Pleistocene volcanicrocks(after Dow, 1977), major faults(after Dow, 1977), and late Cenozoicplate tectonic elements(after Hamilton, 1979) of Papua New Guinea. Volcanic outcrop A comprises Yelia and Marble Peak centers (see text).

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SILLITOE,BAKER, AND BROOK

currentlyrunsat about0.35 metrictons(11,000 oz), heavilyon published andunpublished datafor details approximately 90 percent of it fromthe UpperRidges of lodegolddeposits previously workedunderground open cut(Fig.2). Although thisisonlysome 2 percent andeitherno longeraccessible or removed by open ofthetotalproduced each yearasa by-product from pit mining,our work at Wau, whichincludedlogging thePanguna porphyry copper deposit onBougainvilleof 2,700 m of new diamonddrill core, hasresulted

in redefinition of many ofthegeologic units andreinterpretation of thegeologic setting, timing, andgenesis of the golddeposits. Although previous workers clearly recognized the volcanic setting of goldmineralization at Wau (e.g.,Fisher,1944, 1945; Rebek, Pacificregion. 1975),andsome havesuggested an association with The geologyof the Wau sector of the Morobe diatremes (e.g.,Dowet al., 1974),thecomplete volgoldfield is dealtwith in papers by Fisher(1944, canic context oforedeposition anditsanalogues else1945),Fisher andBranch (1981),andRebek(1975), wherewerenotpreviously appreciated. andaspects of it are alsothe subject of several unRegionalSetting published reports andmaps, notably those prepared in theearly1930s byH. M. Kingsbury. Existing geo- Geologic setting logicinformation is ably summarized in the monographby Lowenstein (1982), whichalsoprovides The southwestern partof Papua New Guinea commuchnew geochemical data. Although we rely prisesa Paleozoiccrystallinebasement terrain over-

Island (Fig.1), it makes a small contribution to Papua New Guinea's positionas the world'sninth largest gold producer(Du Boulay,1983). Although now overshadowed by Panguna, the Morobegoldfield ranks asoneof the premiergoldfields of the western

FIG.2. Oblique aerial photograph looking south over theGolden Peaks (GP), Golden Ridges (GR),
andUpperRidges (UR) sectors of the Wau golddeposit, Papua New Guinea.NamieCreekandthe

millarein theforeground; theregional fault zone isin theleftbackground. Darkgray rocks behind andto the left of the millareparts of Kaindi Metamorphic slide blocks. The degraded maar wallis

visible between Golden Ridges andUpper Ridges. Crumble breccia can be seen to therightof the
mill.

Au DEPOSITS AND HYDROTHERMAL ERUPTION BRECCIAS, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

641

grayphyllitesbut alsoincludechlorite,chloritoidand sericiteschists, and subsidiary quartzitesand marbles. Clasts of garnet-bearing schist were alsoencountered in brecciasand conglomerates (see below), but the rock was not observedin situ. The low-grademetamorphicrocksare characterized by foliationparallel podsandlenses of metaThe Wau districtis locatedin the Owen Stanley to beddingandby numerous Ranges, approximately 30 km westof the Owen Stan- morphogenic quartz.An Rb-Srisochron ageof 21.0 ley faultsystem (Fig. 1), whichseparates the obducted _ 4.0 m.y. was determinedfor Kaindi samples colPapuanophiolite from the Mobile Belt. The Mobile lected4 km west-northwest of Wau andis interpreted Beltconsists of a highlydeformed andmetamorphosed as the age of regional metamorphism(Dow et al., Late Cretaceousto Eocene sedimentarypile which 1974; Page, 1976), probably a late-stage facet of is associated locally with basalticvolcanicrocks and middle Tertiary collisionalorogeny. overliesoceanic crust(Dow, 1977). Hamilton (1979) A partly subaerialvolcanoplutonic arc--the Marconsidered the Mobile Belt rocksto representa m- amuni arc (Dow, 1977)--was constructedalong the lange terrain accretedduring northward subduction Mobile Belt in middle to late Miocene times. In the beneath the intraoceanic island arcandsubsequently Papuan peninsula, the arc was probably a consedeformed by the continent-island arc collision. In the quenceof northwardsubduction from the now-buried Wau district,the volcano-sedimentary prismis rep- Port Moresbytrench (Hamilton, 1979; Fig. 1). In the resentedby the Kaindi Metamorphics(Figs. 3 and area of the Morobe goldfield, magmatismis repre4), which are dominated by partly graphiticblue- sented by the dominantly granodioritic Morobe batholith, which at its nearest point to Wau was radiometricallydatedby the K-Ar and Rb-Sr methods at 12 to 13 m.y. (Page, 1976). In the Wau district, three smallbodiesof weaklyfoliatedhornblende-biotite diorite (Fig. 4) are consideredas apophyses of
the Morobe batholith.

lain by Mesozoic-Cenozoicshelf sedimentswhich, along its northern side, collided with a Late Cretaceous-Paleogene intraoceanic island-arc system in middle Tertiary times. Collision induced tectonism, metamorphism, ophioliteobduction, and uplift (Dow, 1977).

v v

During the Plioceneto Holocene interval, major uplift and subaerialvolcanism(Fig. 1) were widespreadin PapuaNew Guinea during southwardsubduction and included the activity, detailed below, which gave rise to the gold mineralizationat Wau. The OwenStanleyfault system underwentstrike-slip displacement and, in common with the major northwest-trending fault mappedat Wau (Fig. 3), alsoappreciable normal movement.
s

10Krn

Metallogenic setting Exceptfor the Morobe goldfield,little economic mineralization is known from the Papuanpeninsula of easternPapuaNew Guinea. Minor alluvial gold concentrations, derivedmainlyfrom middleMiocene to Pliocenemagmatic rocks,are workedsporadically. Severalporphyry copper prospects of possible Pliocene age, one some 75 km northwestof Wau (Fig. 1), havebeen investigated, and a laterite nickel prospect is knownin the Papuanophiolitebelt some30 km southeast of Wau at Lake Trist (Fig. 1).
Late Cenozoic volcanotectonic setting
The Wau district is not mentioned in recent

Pliocene

syntheses of Plioceneto Recent volcanism in Papua New Guinea (e.g., Johnson,1979, 1982), probably Bulolo Volcanics Major faults Dacit-andesit porphyry: because of the absence of either Recent activity or mainly endogenous d6ms Plioccn moat any large volcanicedifice. The Wau district is part complex regionsituated betweenthe FIG. 3. Selectedgeologicfeaturesof the Morobe goldfield, of a tectonically Papua New Guinea, modified after Dow et al. (1974). southeasternextremity of the Highlands volcanic

Otibanda Formation \ Upper Edie ekloclas

Iowrade .. Post-Pliocene auriferous gravels I] aria granooorlte

642

SILLITOE, BAKER,AND BROOK

v
V

V V
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V V
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V V V
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vv v v v Iv v vvv
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metres

/46 '4/'E

HOLOCENE

PLIOCENE

MIDDLE

MIOCENE

Landslide
Endogenous domes

Hyt. hermal eruption breccla


? PLEISTOCENE

'[- Iedmont fan


=F"Fluviol & fluvio-locustrine beds

.!:: Crumble bmccia


Intm-maar epiclastics & pyroclastics
Hydrothrmoleruptionbr.cia
Nami Bmccio

r-

Momb Dior
LATE CITACEOU5

-- PALOGEN

Dac porphyry intruws

Ignimbrit / Bulolo tibonda Formation

Ak"'"'' C t/nf of ilt/Ot)

Op/i/ $i/,' hO/'i

(]

O. 4. Geologic mapof the Wau golddeposit andvicinity,Papua New Guinea.

Au DEPOSITS AND HYDROTHERMALERUPTIONBRECCIAS, PAPUANEW GUINEA

645

province, which overliesthe continentalbasement, it shouldbe stressed that their samplingsiteswere and the northwestern termination of the Eastern 20 km northwestof Wau. The sourceof the pyroPapuavolcanic province(Fig. 1). The EasternPapua clasticflowsthat generated the unit, which we provolcanic province maybe pairedwith southwestward poseto renamethe BuloloIgnimbrite, remainsunsubduction of Solomon Sealithosphere at the prob- proven,although eruptionfrom,or collapse of, early

ablynow-inactive Trobriand trench, whichdeveloped endogenous domes (seeSmithandRoobol,1982) is in the Pliocene (Hamilton,1979; Fig. 1). The High- a distinct possibility andwouldfit well with the timing lands volcanicprovince is believed by Hamilton of domeemplacement summarized below. (1979) to be a productof southwestward subduction In the Wau district,the BuloloIgnimbriteis overfrom the eastward extension of the New Guinea lain, with little signof discordance, by anotherretrench alongthe north coastof PapuaNew Guinea gionally extensive unit, the Otibanda Formation (Fig. (Fig. 1) which becameinactivated by collision with 3), whichcomprises poorlysorted fiuviatileconglomthe westward extension of the New Britain arc-trench

erates,sandstones, and reworked tuffaceous material,

the lastparticularly abundant immediately above the Bulolo Ignimbrite. Thin ignimbrite flows carrying center, some95 km west-northwest of Wau (Fig. 1), fragments of carbonized woodwere alsoobserved as are currentlyunderlainby a remnantof a southwest- interbeds in places. In the Koranga crater 2 area(Fig. dippingBenioffzone (Dent, 1976), it seemslikely 4), Kaindi Metamorphics,including garnetiferous thatPliocene volcanism at Wau maybe attributedto schist, dominate clastlithologies andare accompanied subduction at either the New Guinea or Trobriand by isolated fragments of woodand,according to Plane trenches. (1967), vertebrateremains. The Formationisworked for alluvialgoldin the Koranga craterareaandelseVolcanic Geology where.Plane(1967) determined that thispart of the Introduction Otibanda Formation wasdeposited ascoalescing fans along the margin of an intermontane lake. Page and Our reappraisal of the Wau districtandits environs (1972) concluded thatthe Otibanda Forhasresulted in recognition for the firsttime of a se- McDougall quence ofunwelded ignimbrites, several endogenous mation was depositednot more than 3.5 to 3.1 domes,and a maar volcano(Figs. 3 and 4). Hydro- m.y. ago. Two and possibly three varietiesof biotite-hornthermalactivitywasassociated with domeemplaceblendeandesite to daciteporphyryintrusive stocks-merit and maar formation. These Pliocene volcanic and Lower Edie Porphyunits and related sedimentary rocks,of which only the Upper, Unclassified, in the Morobegoldfield by the maarvolcano is restricted exclusively to the Wau ries-were distinguished Fisher (1945) and most subsequent workers. All major district(Fig. 4), overlie, and partly cut, the Kaindi bodiesof Edie Porphyryare now recognized as enMetamorphics describedabove. dogenous domes (Fig. 3), someof which (seebelow) Early volcanism haveundergone onlylimited erosion. Partsof domes A widespread sequence of volcanicrocks,up to exhibit well-developedflow foliation, and a more several hundredmetersthick, wasmappedin parts deeply eroded one located in Upper Edie Creek Unclassified Porphyry) ischaracterized along of the Morobe goldfieldand beyondby Dow et al. (Fisher's parts of its steep contacts by spectacular hydrothermal (1974) and previous workers(Fig. 3), and was deswhich carry fragments of both daciteporignatedas the BuloloAgglomerate. North of Wau, breccias in a rockflourmatrix. the sequence dips eastward at 40 to 65. The se- phyryandKaindiMetamorphics similarhydrothermal breccias locally quence in the Wau district and its environsis, how- Lithologically border restricted dikelike bodies of biotite dacite ever,dominated by massive, unbedded, andunwelded whichintruded the KaindiMetamorphics ignimbrite, whichcarries uncollapsed pumice frag- porphyry, mentsand accessory lithic clasts,includingKaindi alongand immediatelywest of the major fault zone
system(Hamilton, 1979). Since the dormant Yelia
andesitic volcano and the extinct Marble Peak volcanic

depicted in Figures 3 and 4. These truly intrusive commonly carry disseminated and matrix. Interbedded sediments werealso recognized, daciteporphyries including a distinctive boulder conglomerate in Namie veinlet pyrite, and in placesin the fault zone they Metamorphicsand Morobe Granodiorite, in an ash

Creek,northeast of the minearea(Fig. 4). Pageand McDougall(1972) presented apparentK-Ar agesof 3.7 to 3.2 m.y. for the ignimbriteeruptionwith 3.5 m.y. selected asa preferredmaximum age,although

are sericitized

and silicified.

We are unableto confirmthe sequence of dacite


2A name introduced at least 50 years ago(N.H. Fisher, written

commun., 1983) becauseof the craterlike form of the area. Most Terminology used in thisreportforvolcanic rocks isprocess workers(Dow et al., 1974; Fisherand Branch,1981; Lowenstein, 1982) considered it asa site of Recent volcanicactivity, whereas orientedandwhereverpossible follows Sparks andWalker (1973) and Wright et al. (1980). we favor activity of hydrothermalorigin (see below).

644

SILLITOE, BAKER, AND BROOK

porphyry emplacementproposedby Fisher (1945) which, on the basisof our mapping,alsoappearsto derive little supportfrom the detailed K-Ar dating studyconducted by R. W. Page(PageandMcDougall, 1972; Dow et al., 1974). His biotite ages for porphyry samples from the Morobe goldfieldrange from 4.2 to 2.4 m.y. Severalcorresponding plagioclase separates yielded older ages,apparentlya result of incorporation of variousamounts of excess radiogenic argon (Page and McDougall, 1972). In the absence of moreprecisedata,we accepthis rangeof biotite agesas broadly representativeof the time interval during which dome emplacement took place, given that the flow-banded daciteporphyrywhich yielded the youngest age of 2.4 m.y. is not a late feature, as suggested by N. H. Fisher,but is an integralpart of an endogenous dome(Fig. 4)--Fisher's (1945) Lower Edie Porphyry.The age of dike intrusionalongthe majorfaultzoneisunknown but tentativelycorrelated with early stages of dome emplacement. Maar-diatremeformation
Maar formation at Wau was localized 600 to 1,000

The oldest recognizablerock unit directly associatedwith generation of the Wau maarisa distinctive lithic breccialong known asthe Namie Breccia.It is preserved200 to 300 m west of the maar at Upper Ridgesand, partly aslandslidematerial, some600 m southof the maar (Figs. 4 and 5). At both localities it unconformably overliesa highly irregular surface cut across KaindiMetamorphics. Thicknesses in excess of 200 m have been intersectedduring drilling at Upper Ridgesbut are suspected to be partly a consequence of repetitionof the succession by fiat faults (Fig. 5). The Namie Brecciais composed of angular to rounded fragmentsof Kaindi Metamorphicsand daciteporphyrysetin a gray-colored matrixof finely comminuted rock material(Fig. 6A). Dacite porphyry clasts includerecognizable pumiceous materialof either juvenile origin or derived from the Bulolo Ignimbrite, and fiow-foliated dome material, which

m east of the trace of a major dip-slip fault zone, markedat surface by both tight gougeandopen-fault breccia. The northwest-striking faultplaneisinclined eastwardat about 40 (Fig. 5) and is partly exposed asfacetedspurs(Fig. 4). Fault movement is believed to have both pre- and postdatedmaar formation, whichthereforeprobablytookplaceon a steep,easterly inclinedpalcoslope comparable to that in existence today (Fig. 3). Continuingdisplacement may be evidenced by the majorlandslide alongthe southern part of the fault in Figure 4. The progressive characteristic concentric internal structure. The acdecreasein dip of the Bulolo Ignimbrite-Otibanda cretionary lapilli unambiguously testifyto a subaerial Formation succession northeast of the Wau area is originfor the well-stratified Namie Brecciaandwere accretionof numerinterpretedas a resultof fault-induced tilting which probablyformedby progressive ous layers of wet volcanic particles around water was largely completedprior to maar formation.
A B
bend in

might suggest the presence of an endogenous dome in the Wau area prior to maar formation.Fragments are mainly<10 cm in sizebut locallyattain>30 cm. Disseminated pyrite, at leastpartly of clasticorigin, is ubiquitousin the rock flour matrix. The NamieBreccia isdominated by a coarse, poorly stratifiedand poorly sortedfacies(Fig. 6A) but containsinterbeds of a fine, silty,andwell-stratified facies (Fig. 6C). The poorly stratifiedpartscorrespond to the explosion brecciaof Wohletz andSheridan (1983) and accumulated mainly by ballistic fall of ejecta. The well-stratified partsare thinly beddedandcharacterizedby well-developedlow-anglecrossstratification(Fig. 6C), aswell ashorizons carryingabundantaccretionary lapilli (Fig. 6B), which exhibitthe

GOD&N ID GE 5 GOLDEN

130

WD10

.1300

100 t
meters above seadevel

BEDDING ' ...".

WD $
x

7oo-I

D/,4,4,fOND D//LL-/-/OL
FIG. 5. Crosssectionof the Wau gold deposit,Papua New Guinea, along line A-B-C in Figure 4. Legend as in Figure 4.

rl

FIG. 6. Selected geologic features of the Wau golddeposit, PapuaNew Guinea.A. Varieties of coarse-grained NamieBreccia fromdrill holeWD-14 (150-200 m), UpperRidges. Palefragments are dacite porphyry andsericite schist, anddarkfragments arephyllite, the lastdominating in the lowest of thethreecoesamples. B. Accretionary lapJill in Namie Breccia, UpperRidges. C. -Iow-angle cross stratification ofbase surge origin in fine-grained Namie Breccia, Upper Ridges. D. Mesoscopic recumbent foldformedby slumping of pyriticmudstones in the intramaar sequence. Dark-colored bedsare rich in syn-or diagenetic pyrite. Samplefrom verticaldrill hole WD-2 (72 m), GoldenPeaks.E. Flow
foliation in the dacitic dome from the northwestern side of the maar. F. Crumble breccia from the

apronflanking the daciticdomealongthe northwestern sideof the maar.

645

646

SILLITOE,

BAKER, AND BROOK

of daciteporphyryclasts, globules. The presence of accretionary lapilli and low- Brecciaby the dominance anglecross stratification, in combination with features the relative paucity of Kaindi Metamorphicclasts, such as penecontemporaneous slumpingand chan- and the much paler rock flour matrix. It is charac-

of clast nelingof bedsandlackof sagstructures beneath large terizedby the sameclastsizesand degrees fragments, accords well with an origin for the well- roundingas the Namie Brecciaand alsopossesses well-beddedhorizons with stratified NamieBrecciaaspyroclastic surgedeposi.ts prominentfine-grained, lapilli.Since thesedaciteporphyry-rich of the low-temperaturebase surgetype. Basesurge accretionary deposits are absent fromthe preserved parts depositsare ubiquitousproductsof maar-forming breccia to overliea small phreatomagmatic or phreaticeruptions (Moore,1967; of the tuff ring andwere observed
Fisher and Waters, 1970; Lorenz, 1973). The accre- allochthonous block of Namie Breccia within the maar tionary lapilli may have formed in eruption columns (Fig. 5), they areattributedto laterphreatomagmatic

activity, with its productsacandthenfallenasa component of ashor, moreprob- or phreaticexplosive mainlywithin the confines of the maar. ably, grew in the base surgesthemselves (Lorenz, cumulating The epiclasticpart of the intramaarsequenceis 1974; SelfandSparks, 1978). The presence of Namie comBrecciaup to at least 1.6 km from the Wau maar interbeddedwith and overliesthe pyroclastic (Fig. 4) agrees well with Wohletz and Sheridan's ponent,and ranges from reworkedbrecciathrough (1979) observation that the maximumradial distance grits and sandstones to finely laminatedmudstones, prominent andwidespread. The attainedby pyroclastic surgedeposits approximates the lastparticularly the vent diameter. mudstones include horizonsrich in plant matter as Sincethe Namie Brecciais presentlargelybeyond well as cherty horizonswith beddedpyrite of synorigin(Fig. 6D). Travertineand sinter the maar,it is interpretedasan erosional remnantof or diagenetic ashot spring aprons are alsopoorlyexposed a maar-encircling tuff ring which was originally of deposited substantially greater extent. The observedremnants at two localities(Fig. 4) within the maar,althoughit of the tuff ring were preserved by beinglet downon is not certainwhether they are part of the intramaar or unconformably overlie it. the regionalfault zone, a mechanism which would sequence endogenous domes in the Moalsohave contributedto the steep south-westward Two of the principal abutthe Wau maar(Figs.3 and4) and dip of the Namie Breccia(Fig. 4). Smallerbodiesof robegoldfield The larger Namie Breccia at Golden Peaksand Golden Ridges were emplacedduring its development. of (Figs.4 and 5) are interpretedasblocksthat slidinto one, to the northwestof the maar, is composed the maar at a later date (see below). We therefore unaltered biotite-hornblendedacite porihyry and well-developed flow foliationwhich dipsin refineprevious interpretations of the NamieBreccia exhibits asa volcanic breccia(Fisher, 1944, 1945; Fisher and variousdirections,but commonlyinward, at 50 to Branch, 1981) or as a diatreme breccia (Dow et al., 60 (Fig. 6E). The smallerdome,on the maar'ssouthandesitc porphyry 1974), and reject Rebek's(1975) conceptof it as a ern contact,is a biotite-hornblende and is characterized by vertical flow foliationclose talusaccumulation partly reworkedby water. which are marked by gougedevelThe volcano-sedimentary sequence withinthe maar to its contacts, Two muchsmaller outcrops of alis incompletely knownbecause of its structural com- opmentin places. plexity and the effectsof widespread hydrothermal tered and fiow-foliatedandesitcporphyry on the alteration.The sequence occupies a surfacearea of westernsideof the maar(Fig. 4) appearto be parts approximately1.4 X 1.4 km (Fig. 4) and definesthe of buried domeswhich were emplacedsomewhat extent of the maar. Available evidence,both at surface earlierthanthe two principalmasses. Sillsanddikes and from drill holes, shows that the intramaar se- of altered dacite to andesitcporphyry cutting both quence is delimitedby a ring fault whichdipsat 50 the intramaar sequenceand the Namie Breccia are of the domes.The only conto 70 (Figs. 4 and 5) and truncatesthe regional believed to be offshoots K-Ar ages on coexisting plagioclase andbiotite strikeanddip of the BuloloIgnimbriteandOtibanda cordant by Pageand McDougall(1972) in the MoFormation. The intramaar sequence dipscentripetally obtained takenwherelower at anglesgreater than 30 , with vertical and over- robegoldfieldwere froma sample turned (Fig. 6D) bedspresentlocally. Inward dips Edie Creek is incisedinto the dacitic dome (Fig. 4). and associated structuralcomplexities resultednot Their two agesof 2.4 _+0.1 m.y. effectivelydate of the larger of the two domes,which from regional tectonismbut from subsidence and emplacement slumpingof unconsolidated, partly water-saturated followed the explosivestageof maar formationand bedsduringaccumulation of materialwithin the maar. probablymuch of the intramaarsedimentation (see The intramaar sequenceis both pyroclasticand below).
epiclasticin origin and is estimatedto exceed 200 m
The southeastern side of the dacitic dome, which

in thickness. The pyroclastic part is dominatedby a


second unit of lithic breccia of ballistic fall and base

surgeorigin.It is easilydistinguished from the Namie

originally constituteda steep rim to the maar, is flanked by a thickandextensive apronof dacitic breccia (Fig. 4), which is believedto have accumulated

Au DEPOSITS AND HYDROTHERMAL ERUPTION BRECCIAS, PAPUA NEW GUINEA

647

by spallingoff of the cool outer crust of the dome the remnants of one or more stream channels and a lake (Fig. 4). Streamchannels were incised duringits continued growth--talus or crumblebrec- restricted sequence andare occupied by concia.If such breccia originally flankedthe northwestern intothe intramaar side of the dacitic dome, it has since been removed glomerates carryinga significant proportionof Kaindi schist)and by the deeper erosionalonglower Edie Creek, The Metamorphic(includinggarnet-bearing breccianearthe domemarginis monomict and clast Morobe Granodioriteclasts.They are therefore inof an externallyderiveddrainsupported,and comprises nonvesiculated blocksof terpretedasproducts daciteporphyryup to at least 2 m across (Fig. 6F). age system.In the Golden Peaks area (Fig. 4), the well-stratifiedconglomerates, sandClastsizedecreases, and the amountof ashymatrix unit comprises andmudstones whichwere rapidly deposited increases, awayfrom the dome, in which directionit stones, is intercalatedwith the epiclasticcomponentof the where one or more streams entered a small lake in part of the maar.The principal remaining intramaarsequence. Pyroclastic rockserupted from the northern bedsis recumbently the domesflankingthe maar were not recognized, outcropof the fiuviolacustrine by a northeast-trending fault(Figs. and the ignimbritemappedeast of Golden Peaksis foldedandcrosscut 4 and 5). Althoughthe originof thesetwo structures part of an exotic slideblock (Fig. 4; seebelow). Our work at Wau hasdocumented the importance remainsuncertain,their positionalong the leading of exoticslideblocks within,andespecially overlying, edgeof an exoticblockof BuloloIgnimbritesuggests the intramaarsequence. Most of the identifiedslide that they are due to very late slidingof the block. clasts of acid-leached rock,includingopal, blocks arecomposed of Kaindiphyllite(Fig. 2), partly Prominent beds postdatedaloverlain by NamieBreccia (Fig. 4). The largest block confirmthat the fiuviolacustrine measures 500 X 450 m at surface(Fig. 4) and was teration and mineralization. A remarkable feature of shown in oneplaceto be 120 m thick (Fig. 5). They the fiuviolacustrine beds is the abundance of transare importantasthe sourceof all gold ore minedat ported woody material, someof it partly pyritized meterslong,twigs,and Golden Ridges and Golden Peaks. These Kaindi (Fig. 7B). Logsup to several are all present. An earthy,but microcrystalline, Metamorphic-Namie Breccia blocks clearly origi- leaves scattered throughthe nated from Upper Ridgesand, on the basisof the dark blue mineralis sparsely X-ray diffraction analysis positionof the Kaindi-Namiecontactand fault pat- unit andwasidentifiedusing vivianitc.The channelfill and terns, may be assigned to their approximateoriginal asthe iron phosphate positions (seebelow;Fig. 9). Sincethe maarwascon- fiuviolacustrine beds are all sluiced for their alluvial Radiocarbon datingby the U. K. Atomic structedon a steepmountainside, the westernwall goldcontent. of the maarcrater,stillpartlypreserved belowUpper Energy'Authority, Harwell, of a sample of littleRidges(Figs. 2, 4, and 5), was probablythe most weathered wood which we collected from the flubedsat GoldenPeaks yieldedan ageof unstable andthereforeprovidedthe majorityof the violacustrine landslide blocks.However,somelandsliding alsotook 42,000 yr, the limit of the analyticprocedureemplacefromotherpartsof the craterwalls,assupported ployed. In view of the specialcare taken becauseof antiquityof the sample, this minimum by recognitionof a block of Bulolo Ignimbrite east the suspected of Golden Peaks and a block of Otibanda Formation age is preferredto that of 34,000 yr, which wasdenorth of KorangaCrater (Figs. 4 and 5). The slide termined previouslyat the AustralianNational Uniblocks became detached from the unstable crater versity,Canberra,for wood collectedfrom the same wallsandsubsided into the maaron low-anglefaults, locality (H. A. Polach,in Fisher and Branch, 1981). markedby substantial zonesof crushing and shearing A similar fiuviolacustrine sequence is present in beneaththe blocks(Fig. 7A). Upper Edie Creek (Fig. 3), where it is incisedby the It isdifficult to equate the intramaar sequence with present drainage.It also containsabundantwoody the stratigraphicschemesof previous workers, al- material and scattered vivianitc, and continues to thoughit appears to be equivalent to Rebek's(1975) providerich alluvialgold.Wood collectedfrom this Early Volcanics, andpart of it wasprobablyassigned unitalso provedtoooldto be datedby the radiocarbon to the KorangaVolcanicsof Dow et al. (1974) and method and, like that in the fiuviolacustrine beds at to the volcanicproductsof the Korangacrater by GoldenPeaks,hasa minimumage of 42,000 yr. Fisher and Branch(1981). The second and youngerfiuviatile sequence, also worked for its alluvial gold content, occupies an exLate sedimentation
tensive area to the southeast and east of the maar It was constructed at the mountain front as a result

a broad piedmontfan. Two stages of fiuviatilesedimentation took place (Fig. 4), where it constitutes
in the Wau district after the formation of the maar

was essentially complete. The earlier, and topo- of renewed uplift (Fisher, 1944) on the northwestgraphically higher, is represented by a seriesof ero- trending fault zone and is incisedby the present sional outliers up to at least 50 m thick which are drainage.

12tI I t
c

I t I

FIG. 7. Additionalselectedgeologicfeaturesof the Wau gold deposit,PapuaNew Guinea.A. Zoneof intense low-angle shearing developed in the intramaar sequence (light)beneath hydrothermal eruption breccia (dark) along theeastern side of theprincipal slide block, Golden Ridges. B. Fragment of partly pyritized wood in fluviolacustrine beds, Golden Peaks. C. Fragment of calcite-manganocalcite vein material in hydrothermal brecciacuttingNamieBreccia in drill holeWD-14 (102 m), Upper Ridges. Each small division ofthescale equals I cm.D. Bedded hydrothermal eruption breccia, Golden

Ridges. E. Crustiform banding in a gold-bearing calcite-manganocalcite-quartz vein,Upper Ridges.


F. Opaline silica horizon developed in theintramaar sequence exposed in collapsed benches of Golden
Peaksopen cut.

648

Au DEPOSITS AND HYDROTHERMALERUPTIONBRECCIAS, PAPUANEW GUINEA

649

Hydrothermal Brecciation, Gold Mineralization,


and Alteration

On the basisof their lithologicand geometricchar-

Hydrothermalbrecciation
Several bodiesof breccia,clearlydistinctfrom the Namie Breccia,were mappedat Wau in the three centers of gold mineralizationat Upper Ridges, GoldenRidges,and GoldenPeaks,and alsoin the Koranga craterarea(Fig.4). Thebreccias in the first three areas were not distinguished from Namie Breccia by previousworkers,and thoseat Korangacrater

were either not recognized at all or considered as


volcanic breccia.

Although the originalextents of breccias at Upper Ridges, GoldenRidges, andGoldenPeaks havebeen severely reducedby openpit mining,their overall geometries may still be deducedfrom existing remnants(Fig. 4), old records, andthe recentdiamond drilling. Overall geometricrelationspermit subdivisioninto massive crosscutting breccia bodiesand weakly stratifiedaccumulations of subaerial breccia (Fig. 4). Bothtypesarepresent at Golden Ridges and tion craters; these craters were from several tens of GoldenPeaks,but only crosscutting brecciashave metersto 1 km in diameterandup to 100 m deep. In the GoldenRidgesand GoldenPeaksareas,the beenrecognized at UpperRidges andonly subaerial
brecciasat Koranga crater.

acteristics, the breccias are assigned a hydrothermal origin. The subaerialveneersof breccia are interpreted asremnants of composite aprons of ejectaaccumulatedaroundshallowventswhich were fed by the crosscutting bodies.The subaerialveneersare thereforeclassifiable ashydrothermal eruptionbreccias(Lloyd,1959) or hydrothermal explosion breccias (Muffler et al., 1971); the former nameis employed here in conformity with currentusage by mostworkers in New Zealand (e.g., Hedenquist, 1983). The examples described by Muffler et al. (1971) in the Yellowstonegeothermalfield, Wyoming, and comparable occurrences in the geothermal systems of the Taupo volcaniczone of North Island, New Zealand (Lloyd, 1959; Cross,1963; Nairn and Wiradiradja, 1980; Hedenquist, 1983), were generated duringthe last 15,000 yr, and the formationof somehasbeen observed. They were generatedby shallowhydrothermal eruptionswhich causedapronsof ejecta to accumulate aroundwell-definedhydrothermal erup-

hydrothermal breccias are restricted to NamieBreccia in the landslide blocksand, Bothbreccia types at UpperRidges, Golden Ridges, andKaindiMetamorphics and Golden Peaks are similar and characterizedby moreover,do not containany clasts of the subjacent andepiclastic materialfromthe intramaar their poorlylithifiednature.They comprise a chaotic pyroclastic The breccias in thesetwo areasare thereassemblage of angular to rounded fragments of Namie sequence. BrecciaandKaindiMetamorphics setin a muddyand fore believed to have been generatedin spatialconoften plasticmatrix.Fragments of gold-bearing cal- tinuity with the Upper Ridgesbrecciasand to have aspartsof the landslide blocks.The precise cite, manganocalcite (largelyoxidizedto manganese subsided oxides), andquartzcomprise up to 5 volumepercent age of brecciationis unknownbut clearly postdated of both brecciatypes(Fig. 7C). The Korangacrater initial maar formation and predated the late landbrecciasare lithologicallydistinctand carry promi- slidingevent. Developmentof a fumarolicvent at Korangacrater nent fragmentsof intramaarpyroclastics, Morobe diorite, silicified and pyritized material (including in May 1967 followed a major landslidewhich ocwood),andballed-upplastic mud.All breccias contain curred during the night. Althoughactivity is widely fragments up to 1 m or soin size,but lackanyessential believed to have been restrictedto landsliding(Pigram et al., 1977), we tentatively suggest that the (juvenile) material. eruption, The crosscutting breccias occurasa ramifyingsys- maineventcouldhavebeena hydrothermal of tem of irregular podsand veinswhich, especially at with the landslidemerely being a consequence of the valleysideduringaccumulation Upper Ridges,preferentiallyfollow a seriesof gently oversteepening breccia. This reinterpretationof dippingplanes, some of whichare clearlyfaults(Figs. of water-saturated of poorly 4 and 5). These bodiestransectmainly the Namie the eventis basedentirelyon the presence Brecciabut are locally hostedby Kaindi Metamor- stratified muddybreccias in the vicinityof the vent, phics. At Upper Ridges,breccia bodies extend to since there were no reliable witnessesand hydrodepthsof 100 m, andreinterpretation of old records thermal eruptionis not accompanied by loud noise. suggests that at greaterdepthsthey steepenand are Examination of the areaseveral daysafterthe inferred transitionalto veins (Fig. 5). The subaerialbreccias eruptionrevealedthe presence of SO2-rich fumaroles unconformably overlie Namie Breccia or are sepa- at temperatures of 600 to 700C (Pigramet al., rated by low-angle zones of shearingfrom either 1977), the site of which is now marked by encrusKaindi Metamorphics or the intramaarsequence. At tations of nativesulfur. We suggest thatthesegaseous least at Golden Ridges,the subaerialbrecciasattain emissions could have been an aftermath of the inferred a thickness of 60 m andare madeup of thick, nearly hydrothermal eruption, although Pigramet al. (1977)
fiat beds defined on the basis of different clast lith-

invoked spontaneouscombustion of carbonaceous

ologies(Fig. 7D).

matter and pyrite asan explanation.

650

SILLITOE, BAKER, AND BROOK

The Koranga craterarea,whichisbelieved to have beenthe siteof hydrothermal eruptions priorto 1967, ispresently delimited onthreesides by stepped walls, produced by recent subsidence, and is breachedon
the fourth as a result of the 1967 landslides. It contains

a smallcold water pond and has now cooledcompletelyfollowing the 1967 activity.One of the earlier eruptionbreccias, in the southern part of the Koranga area, carriesabundantfragments of Morobe diorite, a rockwhichdoesnot cropout aroundthe craterand is only known from a smallinlier 400 m southwest
and 40 m lower in elevation. It is concluded that the

dioritefragments were carriedupwardfrombeneath the crater area by hydrothermaleruptions.


Gold mineralization

The principal hydrothermalgold mineralization knownin the Wau districtis closelyassociated with the hydrothermal breccias at Upper Ridges,Golden Ridges,and GoldenPeaks(Fig. 4). The high-grade mineralization (10-30 g/metric ton) is present mainly in gently dipping, grossly lenticularlodes, which are up to 10 m thick and 300 m longbut are generally ratherdiscontinuous. Theseappearto have beenemplaced within or at the baseof hydrothermal breccias, apparentlyof both subsurface andsubaerial origin.The majorveinsappearto be overlainby one or moreless extensive veinsandare partlyparalleled by preexisting, sill-likebodiesof daciteporphyry. In an unoxidizedstate, the veins carry calcite, manganocalcite, andquartz,alongwith generally minor pyrite, rhodochrosite, sphalerite,galena,chalcopyrite, tetrahedrite, andsilversulfosalts (see Rebek, 1975; Lowenstein,1982). The carbonates commonly exhibit crustiformbanding (Fig. 7E) and cockade structure, andthe quartzis white or transparent and normally vuggy. Hypogene goldin theveins ispresent in the native state and is probably500 to 600 fine; theoverall Ag/Auratioof theveins is3:1 (Lowenstein, 1982). Much of the ore is oxidizedand is believed by Lowenstein (1982) to haveundergone supergene goldenrichment asan accompaniment to the transformation ofmanganocalcite andrhodochrosite to wad and crystalline manganese oxides. Goldmineralization of lower gradebut commonly minable in bulk, with gradesof up to 5 g/metric ton of gold, occupies substantial volumes of hydrothermallybrecciated rock.The goldis present,with the samegangue assemblage asin the mainlodes,in either short multidirectional veinletsup to several
centimeters wide above the main lodes, or in vein

Edie Creek (Fig. 3). There the veins,including many less persistent veinsandveinlets,mainlytransect the Kaindi Metamorphics(Fisher, 1939; Rebek, 1975) in anareaadjacent to an endogenous dome,although locallythey cut the domeitself.The veinsconstitute a northwest-trending belt parallel to the regional fault zone at Wau (Fig. 3). The Upper Edie Creek veins carryquartz,calcite,and manganocalcite, asat Wau, but containa greater abundance of silver sulfosalts (Lowenstein, 1982). The intrusivedacite porphyries,and their immediatemetamorphic wallrocks, along theregional fault zone west of Upper Ridges,are locally pervasively sericitized and,at the Ribroaster mine(Fig. 4), have beenworked for gold.There,upto 10 volume percent sulfides accompany intensesericiticalterationlocalized by a cross structure.The sulfideassemblage includes important pyrite,pyrrhotite, andarsenopyrite, and the gold is 750 fine (Lowenstein,1982); both features arein marked contrast to the Wau andUpper
Edie Creek lodes.

Goldmineralization at bothWau andUpperEdie Creek is believed to have been generatedduring domeemplacement and maarformation (Fig. 8). If Page and McDougall's(1972) biotite agesare accepted(seeabove), thenmineralization probably falls within the 4- to 2.4-m.y. interval. At Wau, however, gold introduction precededslidingof Kaindi Metamorphic-Namie Breccia blocks, as shown by the abrupt truncation of gold mineralizationat their
sheared bases.

fragments within the breccias. At Upper Ridges, the gently dipping, brecciahosted lodes aretransitional downward to steep,albeit mineralogically similar, vein structures. These are similar to the mainveinsexploited previously at Upper

As noted above,alluvial gold in the Wau district is presentlocally as economic concentrations in all the clastic sedimentary unitsdistinguished duringthe mapping, namelythe Otibanda Formation deposited priorto maarformation, the fiuviolacustrine bedsand channelconglomerates, and the piedmontfan accumulatedafter maarformation.The sources of gold in thesealluvial deposits have yet to be preciselydetermined,but in the postmaar units it is probably largely derivedfrom hydrothermal gold associated with domeemplacement andmaarformation, assupported by the relatively low fineness (558-611) documented in the Koranga craterarea(Fisher,1975). Gold introduced duringMorobeGranodiorite intrusion(Fisher,1945) in the mid-Miocene,or evenduring metamorphogenic quartzsegregation in the Oligocene-early Miocene, is probablythe main source of Otibandagold, which is reportedto average876 fineelsewhere in the Morobegoldfield (Lowenstein, 1982). The majorproportion of the goldproduced from the Morobe goldfieldwas dredgedfrom the Bulolo alluvials (Fig. 3) and wasderivedby erosionof the Wau and Upper Edie Creek lode gold deposits (Fisher, 1945, 1975).

AuDEPOSITS ANDHYDROTHERMAL ERUPTION BRECCIAS, PAPUA NEWGUINEA


I
. - -Dome emploccment

651

......
-

Buloio Ignimbrite
Otibanda Formotion

--I I ?

Regioncl tilting
Gold mincroiizotion

-4 J

./? MAAR-FOIMING EVENTS


I
Hydrothcrmol brcciotion ctKorcmgo
2 ! O

- Declte porphyry intrusion, Ribroaster gold rnneralizeton - Dletrerne/rneer/tuff-ring forrnetmn


Hear sedirnentotlon

MAAR - FORMING

[VNTS ...

--Deep
- -

- Hydrotherrnel brecceton +gold rnnerohzotion

Dome ernpscernent
-

hydrothermel olterobon m moor

b.

Descent of shde blocks Generobon of ocd-leachedzone Fluvmble sedrnentnbon

with (111uvel old

FIG.8. (a)Generalized timesequence of volcanic andhydrothermal events at Wauandvicinity. K-Aragecontrol fromPage andMcDougall (1972),(b) Amplification of events associated withthe
formation of the Wau maar.

Hydrothermal alteration

horizon is characterized by cristobalite,kaolinite, alunite, and much smalleramountsof iron sulfides, by X-ray diffraction analysis of repreIn contrastto the gold mineralization at the Ri- all confirmed samples. Cristobalite-rich rockisporous and broaster mine, which is associated with intense ser- sentative iciticalteration, the maingoldlodes at Wau lackany low in density. In the centralpart of the alteredarea,restricted noticeableassociated alteration effects,althoughmisequence aroundGoldenPeaks and nor kaoliniteandsericitewere recordedlocally.Nev- to the intramaar Ridges, a second varietyof feldspar-destrucertheless, two broadvarietiesof hydrothermal alter- Golden is foundpatchilyto depthsexceeding ationessentially devoid of significant goldvalues are tive alteration 300 m. Samples examined by X-ray diffraction are recognized in association with the maar. of quartz,calcite,kaolinite,and smectite, A zoneof feldspar-destructive alteration,some1.5 composed lack alunite. A pale green micaceous by up to 0.9 km at the surface (Figs.4 and7F), oc- and obviously locallywasdetermined to be cupies internal parts of the maarandwasdeveloped mineralthat is present a mixed layer illite. The alteration is associated with attheexpense oftheintramaar sequence and,locally, of the main andesiticdome. It occupiesonly high veinlets of chalcedonyor calcite carrying pyrite. Field evidencesupports hydrothermal alteration ground andhas clearly beenlargely removed by erotimesduringmaarformation (Fig. 8). The sion andopen pitmining from thelower Golden Peaks at several alterationappearsto be and GoldenRidges areas. The alteration zonedoes deep feldspar-destroying drillinghasshown thatit does not appearto exceed 70 m in thickness andis char- partlyearly,because acterizedat its baseby a prominentflatly dipping not extendupwardinto either the daciticcrumble zoneof silicification composed of opal,givinga dis- breccia or the Kaindi Metamorphic-Namie Breccia ordered cristobalite (opal CT) X-raypattern. The opal slide blocks. In contrast, the near-surfaceopalized is locallyinverted to chalcedony. Silicification is ac- horizon and overlyingcristobalite-kaolinite-alunite companied by upto 20 volume percent ofpartlycol- alteration resulted from a late-stageevent which postdated descent of gold-bearing slide blocks loform, fine-grained pyrite and marcasite that are clearly but predated deposition of the fiuviolacustrine beds. largelyoxidized to supergene jarosite andhematite. rockshave been shownto Feldspar-destructive alteration abovethe opalized The cristobalite-bearing

652

SILLITOE, BAKER, AND BROOK

contain <0.005 ppm Au, except where they were magmatic(carryingjuvenile material) origin for the developed at the expense of auriferous hydrothermal Wau maar is difficult to make because it is unclear breeeia. whetherdaciteporphyryclasts are juvenile (cognate lithics) or not (accessory lithics). In common with Volcanic and Hydrothermal Development manydiatremes (e.g., Selfet al., 1980), the Wau diaby the nearby In the Morobe goldfield,hydrothermal gold de- tremeisbelievedto havebeenlocalized positionaccompanied emplaeement of endogenous regionalfault zone,whichdipseastward at about40 domes,the earlier of which may have given rise to beneaththe maarandshould thereforebe presentat pyroelastic pumice-and ash-flows preservedas the a depthof about1,000 m beneathit (Fig. 8). A perfor Bulolo Ignimbrite. On the basisof Page and Me- meablefault zonewouldprovideideal conditions Dougall's(1972) radiometricages,the overall max- descendingground waters to encounter ascending of magma. Early batches of thismagma, which imumtime spanfor gold mineralization was4 to 2.4 bodies m.y. (Fig. 8). At Wau itself, the initial generation of rose alongthe fault zone, are believed to be repreby the dikelikebodies ofdaciteporphyrywest the maar and underlying diatreme preceded gold sented mineralization,which is thoughtto have taken place of Upper Ridges(Fig. 9). Followingthe main period prior to emplaeement of the youngest dated daeitie of hydrovolcanic activity, residualmagmadepleted dome 2.4 m.y. ago. Filling of the maar, including in volatiles by explosive eruptionwasemplaced more eraplacement of landslide blocks, wascompleted be- thanonceasviscous domes, with intrusion apparently fore deposition of the fluviolaeustrine bedsat an un- partlycontrolled by the diatreme walls.The tuff ring known time >42,000 yr ago. andpartsof the intramaar sequence were constructed Followingaccepted models of maar-diatreme for- of ballistic fall and base surge deposits,the latter mation (e.g., Lorenz, 1973), the Wau systemis be- resulting from laterallydirectedblastsof turbulent, lieved to have been generatedby a seriesof hydro- expanded gas-solid dispersions (Moore, 1967; Shervolcanic (phreatieor phreatomagmatie; Sheridan and idan andWohletz, 1981). The tuff ring probablyexWohletz, 1981) explosions triggeredby interaction tendedsome2 km from the perimeterof the maar, potential, it is of hot andesitie-daeitie magma andcoolmeteoric wa- but becauseof its poor preservation ter. The choicebetween a phreatie and a phreato- now largely destroyed.
RIBROASTER-'FYI GOLD
DEGRADED

HYDROTHERMALLY BRECCIATED CONDUITS WITH


TUFF-RING

AUTOCHTHONOUS RECONSTRUCTED GOLD DEPOSIT POSITION OF / PRINCIPAL SLIDE-BLOCI

.... ;'/;
/

ENDOGENOUS ALLOCHTHONOUS FLUVIOSTRINE BEOS


DOME OLI)DEPOSIT

HYOROTHERMAL ERUPTION
PRINCIPAL

OVERTUItNED
BUU:ILO INiMBRITE SLIDE BLOCK

SLIOE BLOCK OPALINE SILICA

DIATREHE'.

FIG. 9. Partly reconstructedschematicsection of the Wau maar-diatreme system to illustrate aspects of the genetic model discussed in the text. Most of the legend as in Figure 4.

Au DEPOSITSAND HYDROTHERMAL ERUPTION BRECCIAS,PAPUANEW GUINEA

653

During or immediately following initial explosive activity, the ring fault would have formed and subsidenceof the enclosed rocks,includingpartsof the tuff ring, probably took place (e.g., Hearn, 1968; Lorenz, 1973). Material which subsided at this time may have been disaggregated by subsequent explosions, although the NamieBreccia block--intersected by drilling at a depth of 300 m within the maar-survived. Once subsidencehad commenced, the cra-

and dominated by meteoric water, in common with those inferred to have been responsiblefor similar epithermalpreciousmetal mineralizationelsewhere (e.g., BergerandEimon, 1982), althoughsomeworkers suggestthat a crucial metal-bearing magmatic component mayhavebeen added(e.g.,White, 1981).

At Wau, any magmatically derived fluid must have beenreleased duringfinalcrystallization of andesitic-

ter wouldhaveundergone progressive expansion by


slumpingand sliding from its unstablewalls. Hydrothermalbrecciationand gold introduction were essentially coevalandtook placewithin the tuff ring andunderlying KaindiMetamorphics of the Upper Ridgesarea.In thiswedge-shaped body of rock, between the regional fault zone and the maar ring fault,gentlydippingextensional faultswere generated asthispoorlyrestrained wedgeof rock tendedto slip downwardtoward the maar (Fig. 9). Furthermore, the regional fault zone and associatedsubsidiary structures were ideally locatedto act as a plumbing systemfor the ascentof hydrothermal fluids from depth beneath the maar. In conformity with the mechanismacceptedfor the genesis of comparable breccias elsewhere (Muffler et al., 1971; Henley and Thornley, 1979; Nairn and Wiradiradja,1980; Hedenquist, 1983), hydrothermal brecciationat Upper Ridgesis believedto have been a consequence of fluid overpressures generatedbeneathrelativelyimpermeable caprocks.Permeability wasreducedasa result of the self-sealing of fissures by earlydeposition of gold-bearing calcite,manganocalcite,and quartz, which are now presentas ubiquitousfragments in the hydrothermalbreccias.Hydraulicfracturingis thoughtlikely to havebeen triggered by rapid reductions of confining pressure inducedby faulting and slidingof material into the maar. Decompression in one or more fissures would havecaused waterto flash to steam, disrupt the fissure walls and confiningrocks, and carry the resulting fragmentalmaterial to the surface.Continuedviolent discharge of fluidsand ejecta caused entrainmentof additionalmaterial from the walls of the ramifying systemof conduitsand their progressive widening during the courseof the days, months,or years of intermittenteruptiveactivity.In contrast to the early

dacitic magma bodies beneath the diatreme (Fig. 9). Gold mineralization on the upthrownsideof the regionalfault zone, at the Ribroaster mine, appears to
havebeen emplaced at greaterdepthby fluidschanneledup the fault. The fluidsare thoughtto possess a overallparentage similarto thoseresponsible for golddeposition at UpperRidges, but theyweremore saline andin the boilingcondition (M. Jones, written commun., 1983). Since most of the major veins have now either been removed by mining or are inaccessible,it is difficultto ascertain the precisenature of their structural controls. However,all veins,including earlyones fragmentedby hydrothermalbrecciation,were evidently produced by repeatedopeningand filling of laterallyrestricted,gentlydippingfractures.As proposedabove,fractures are thoughtto havebeengeneratedby extension of the rock wedge between the regionalfault zone and the ring fault owingto incipient downwardmovementtowardthe maar (Fig. 9). Explosivevolcanic activity must have continued locally during early stagesof sedimentation within the maar, becauseof the alternation of pyroclastic and epiclastic units,althoughhigher horizons of the intramaarsequence tend to be dominated by epiclastic material. Maar sediments are mainly epiclastic,derived locally from within the confinesof the crater, and accumulated partly in shallowephemerallakes around which vegetation grew profusely. On the northwestern sideof the maarthey intertonguewith
crumble breccia accumulated on the flank of the dac-

itic dome during its active growth. Hydrothermal fluidswhich debouched at this time gaverise to subaqueous chert-pyrite beds and possiblyalsoto subaerial travertine and sinter.At least part of the deep quartz-calcite-kaolinite-smectite-(illite) alteration probablyalsodatesfromthisperiod.The lack of gold in all thesehydrothermal products suggests their forhydrovolcanic stage,the loci of eruptionwere very mation from fluids different from those responsible muchshallower (100 m), morerestricted, andlack- for mineralization at Upper Ridgesand Ribroaster. ing in any direct magmaticinvolvement. The intramaar succession was deformed by conAs suggested for hydrothermaleruption vents in tinued subsidence and slumping, mainlyafter explogeneral(Henley andThornley, 1979), thoseat Wau sive activity had ceased, as documented for maars appearto haveactedaseffectivechannelways for the elsewhere(Lorenz, 1979). Detachmentof rigid slide

focused ascent of hydrothermal fluids duringandim- blocks from the unstable walls of the maar crater took mediately following brecciation. Althoughno stable placeafterfillingof the maarwasessentially complete isotopestudies and only preliminaryfluid inclusion and may have caused deformation of partsof the instudiesof samples from Wau have been carried out tramaar sequence.Most of the recognized blocks
to date, the fluids are believed to have been dilute

originatedon the oversteepened westernwall, from

654

SILLITOE, BAKER,AND BROOK

whichthe largest traveled for 600 m (Figs.4, 5, and fields Consolidated Limited. We thank R. A. Shak9). Movement on the regional fault zonemayhave esby,Exploration Manager,andJ.P. McKibben,Astriggered the sliding. Hydrothermal breccias andgold sistant Exploration Manager(South WestPacific), for
mineralizationat Golden Ridgesand Golden Peaks permission to presentthis summaryof the geologic of the work. Useful discussions were held at underwent mechanical transport for distances of up aspects to i km to their present positions asintegralpartsof varioustimes with J.P. McKibben, R. M. D. Meares, slide blocks.The gently dipping veins at Golden D. Pascoe,and J. V. Wright. Reviewsof the manuRidgesand Golden Peaksbecame detached at this scriptwere generously providedby N. H. Fisher, P. time fromtheir steeper feederveins,whichare only Lowenstein,and R. W. Page. present in the area of autochthonous mineralization at Upper Ridges. August 16, 1983; January 16, 1984

maarappears, at leastin part,to havepostdated arrival of the majormineralized slideblocks(Fig. 8).


After alteration had ceased, the maar crater was

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--

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If our interpretationof the Korangacrater area is correct, hydrothermal brecciation was renewed at

Wau, thistime onthe southeastern edgeof the maar, following accumulation of the piedmont fanandperhaps evenasrecentlyas1967. The fragments of massivechalcedonic silicain the Koranga brecciaapron supportthe occurrence of self-sealing in depth but contrast with the dominance of carbonate fragments
in the older breccias.

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