By Bruce L. Reed

DESCRIPTION Disseminated cassiterite, and cassiterite-bearing veinlets, stockworks, lenses, pipes, and breccia in greisenized granite (see fig. 44).

Figure 44. Cartoon cross section of a Sn greisen.

GENERAL REFERENCE Scherba (1970), Taylor (1979), Reed (1982), Tischendorf (1977).


Rock Types Specialized biotite and(or) muscovite leucogranite (S-type); distinctive accessory minerals include topaz, fluorite, tourmaline, and beryl. Tin greisens are generally post-magmatic and associated with late fractionated melt.

Textures Common plutonic rock textures, miarolitic cavities may be common; generally nonfoliated; equigranular textures may be more evolved (Hudson and Arth, 1983); aplitic and porphyritic textures common.

Age Range May be any age; tin mineralization temporally related to later stages of granitoid emplacement.

Depositional Environment Mesozonal plutonic to deep volcanic environment.

Tectonic Setting(s) Foldbelts of thick sediments volcanic rocks deposited on stable cratonic shield; accreted margins; granitoids generally postdate major folding.

Associated Deposit Types Quartz-cassiterite sulfide lodes, quartz-cassiterite molybdenite stockworks, late complex tin-silver-sulfide veins.


Mineralogy General zonal development of cassiterite + molybdenite, cassiterite + molybdenite + arsenopyrite + beryl, wolframite + beryl + arsenopyrite + bismuthinite, Cu-Pb-Zn sulfide minerals + sulphostannates, quartz veins fluorite, calcite, pyrite.

Texture/Structure Exceedingly varied, the most common being disseminated cassiterite in massive greisen, and quartz veinlets and stockworks (in cupolas or in overlying wallrocks); less common are pipes, lenses, and tectonic breccia.

Alteration Incipient greisen (granite): muscovite chlorite, tourmaline, and fluorite. Greisenized granite: quartz-muscovite-topaz-fluorite, tourmaline (original texture of granites retained). Massive greisen: quartz-muscovite-topaz fluorite tourmaline (typically no original texture preserved). Tourmaline can be ubiquitous as disseminations, concentrated or diffuse clots, or late fracture fillings. Greisen may form in any wallrock environment, typical assemblages developed in aluminosilicates.

Ore Controls Greisen lodes located in or near cupolas and ridges developed on the roof or along margins of granitoids; faults and fractures may be important ore controls.

Weathering Granite may be "reddened" close to greisen veins. Although massive greisen may not be economic as lodes, rich placer deposits form by weathering and erosion.

Geochemical Signature Cassiterite, topaz, and tourmaline in streams that drain exposed tin-rich greisens. Specialized granites may have high contents of SiO (>73 percent) and K2O (>4 percent), and are depleted in CaO, TiO2, MgO, and total FeO. They are enriched in Sn, F, Rb, Li, Be, W, Mo, Pb, B, Nb, Cs, U, Th, Hf, Ta, and most REE, and impoverished in Ni, Cu, Cr, Co, V, Sc, Sr, La, and Ba.


Lost River, USAK (Dobson, 1982; Sainsbury, 1964)

Anchor Mine, AUTS (Groves and Taylor, 1973)

Erzgebirge, CZCL (Janecka and Stemprok, 1967)