Sulfur isotope studies of the Stillwater Complex and associated rocks, Montana

Economic Geology
By:  and 



The Stillwater Complex in south-central Montana is a late Archean layered, ultramafic to mafic intrusion emplaced into middle to late Archean metagraywacke, metashale, and ironformation. Sulfide minerals are concentrated near the base of the intrusion in some chromitite layers, podiform pegmatoids, discontinuous discordant pods or pipes, and numerous thin, stratiform layers. This investigation focuses on the isotopic composition of sulfur in metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, Stillwater-associated sills and dikes, sulfide accumulations near the base of the complex, and platinum-group element-enriched sulfide mineralization that constitutes the J-M reef and the Picket Pin deposit.The delta 34 S values for 233 samples analyzed in this study have a mean of 0.4 per mil, a standard deviation of 1.7, and a maximum and minimum of-3.8 and 7.8 per mil, respectively. Despite the very narrow range of values, analysis of variance calculations confirms that the data comprise three statistically distinct groups. These groups are (1) metagraywackes and metashales (mean = 2.8ppm); (2) iron-formation, Stillwater-associated sills and dikes, and basal sulfide accumulations in the complex (mean = -0.7ppm); and (3) disseminated sulfide minerals that occur above the basal accumulations in the Stillwater Complex (mean -- 1.2ppm). The isotopic composition of sulfur in the basal sulfide accumulations indicates that assimilation of substantial amounts of sulfur from iron-formation may have occurred. The low tenor of the basal sulfide ores is also consistent with assimilation of sulfur into a limited volume of magma near the base of the intrusion.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Sulfur isotope studies of the Stillwater Complex and associated rocks, Montana
Series title Economic Geology
DOI 10.2113/gsecongeo.85.2.376
Volume 85
Issue 2
Year Published 1990
Language English
Publisher Society of Economic Geologists
Description 16 p.
First page 376
Last page 391
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