Ore deposits are loci on Earth where energy and mass flux are greatly enhanced and focussed, acting as magnifying lenses into metal transport, fractionation and concentration mechanisms through the lithosphere. Here we show that the metallogenic architecture of the lithosphere is illuminated by the geochemical signatures of metasomatised mantle rocks and post-subduction magmatic-hydrothermal mineral systems. Our data reveal that anomalously gold and tellurium rich magmatic sulfides in mantle-derived magmas emplaced in the lower crust share a common metallogenic signature with upper crustal porphyry-epithermal ore systems. We propose that a trans-lithospheric continuum exists whereby post-subduction magmas transporting metal-rich sulfide cargoes play a fundamental role in fluxing metals into the crust from metasomatised lithospheric mantle. Therefore, ore deposits are not merely associated with isolated zones where serendipitous happenstance has produced mineralisation. Rather, they are depositional points along the mantle-to-upper crust pathway of magmas and hydrothermal fluids, synthesising the concentrated metallogenic budget available.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for Research in Energy and Environment (CREE)

Keywords and Phrases

Economic geology; Geochemistry

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2041-1723; 2041-1723

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2019 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2019