Detrital gold as an indicator mineral

Robert J. Chapman, N.R. Moles, Britt Bluemel, Richard D. Walshaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Detrital gold fulfils the criteria of chemical inertia and physical durability required by indicator minerals but it has not found wide application in this role because it may be formed in different deposit types. This problem is soluble, because the generic compositional features of hydrothermal gold differ according to mineralization environment. The wide distribution of gold as a minor component of mineralization where other commodities are the principal exploration target extends the potential of an indicator methodology based on detrital gold to beyond the search for gold itself. Here we highlight how distinctive gold compositional signatures derived from alloy composition and deposit- specific suites of mineral inclusions could contribute to exploration for Cu–Au porphyries, redox-controlled uranium mineralization and ultramafic-hosted PGE mineralization. Future refinement this approach will focus on establishing the spatial distribution of elements at trace levels within gold particle sections using ToF-LA-ICP-MS and application of Exploratory Data Analysis to the resulting datasets. This approach is in its infancy, but aims to develop a classification algorithm useful to researchers irrespective of their previous experience. A pilot study has shown that random forests provide the best approach to establishing gold particle origins.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCarbon Cycle and Ecosystem Response to the Jenkyns Event in the Early Toarcian (Jurassic)
EditorsM. Reolid , L. V. Duarte , E. Mattioli , W. Ruebsam
PublisherGeological Society
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781786205469
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

Publication series

NameGeological Society, London, Special Publications
PublisherGeological Society of London
ISSN (Print)0305-8719


  • Geology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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