Volcanogenic massive sulfide ore deposit

Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide Ore Deposit

Volcanogenic massive sulfide ore deposit

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Volcanogenic massive sulfide ore deposits (VMS ) are a type of metal sulfide ore deposit, mainly Cu-Zn-Pb which are associated with and created by volcanic-associated hydrothermal events in submarine environments.

These deposits are also sometimes called volcanic-hosted massive sulfide (VHMS) deposits. They are predominantly layered accumulations of sulfide minerals that precipitate from hydrothermal fluids on or below the seafloor in a wide range of ancient and modern geological settings. In modern oceans they are synonymous with sulfurous plumes called black smokers.

They occur within environments dominated by volcanic or volcanic-derived (e.g., volcano-sedimentary) rocks, and the deposits are contemporary and coincident with the formation of associated volcanic rocks. As a class, they represent a significant source of the world's Cu, Zn, Pb, Au, and Ag ores, with Co, Sn, Ba, S, Se, Mn, Cd, In, Bi, Te, Ga and Ge as mining by-products.

Volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits are forming today on the seafloor around undersea volcanoes along many mid ocean ridges, and within back-arc basins and forearc rifts. Mineral exploration companies are exploring for seafloor massive sulfide deposits; however, most exploration is concentrated in the search for land-based equivalents of these deposits.

The close association with volcanic rocks and eruptive centers sets VMS deposits apart from similar ore deposit types which share similar source, transport and trap processes. Some...
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