Archaean gold mineralization synchronous with late cratonization of the Western Dharwar Craton, India: 2.52 Ga U–Pb ages of hydrothermal monazite and xenotime in gold deposits
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New zircon U–Pb ages for a felsic volcanic rock (2,588 ± 10 Ma) and an intrusive granite (≥2,555 ± 6 Ma) in the Gadag greenstone belt in the Western Dharwar Craton, southern India, are similar to dates for equivalent rocks in the Eastern Dharwar Craton and indicates docking of the two cratons prior to this time. The zircons in the intrusive granite are strongly overprinted, and coexisting titanites yielded two different age populations: the dominant group gives an age of 2,566 ± 7 Ma, interpreted as the emplacement age, whereas the minor group gives an age of 2,516 ± 10 Ma, reflecting a hydrothermal overprint. In situ U–Pb dating of monazite and xenotime in gold reefs of the Gadag (2,522 ± 6 Ma) and Ajjanahalli (2,520 ± 9 Ma) gold deposits reveal a previously undated episode of gold mineralization at 2.52 Ga, substantially younger than the 2.55 Ga Hutti deposit in the eastern Dharwar Craton. The new dates confirm that both the younger greenstone belts and lode gold mineralization in the Dharwar Craton are about 100–120 My, younger than in other well-dated Archaean cratons. Although gold mineralization across the craton postdates most of the magmatic activity and metamorphism at upper crustal levels, widespread thermal reworking of the lower-middle crust, involving partial melting, metamorphism, and lower crustal granitoid intrusion, occurred concurrently with gold mineralization.It is likely that the large-scale hydrothermal fluid flow that produced widespread gold deposition was also part of this tectono-thermal event during the final stages of cratonization of the Dharwar Craton in southern India.