Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Student, Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Lower Cretaceous volcano-sedimentary sequence in the northwest and southeast of Safashahr (Dehbid) in marginal subzone of southern Sanandaj-Sirjan Zone comprises the Keshtmahaki deposit and few other occurrences of copper (-silver). The oldest rock units in the region are Jurassic shale and sandstone, which are unconformably overlain by the Lower Cretaceous progressive sequence with basal conglomerate, sandstone and silty shale. Copper (-Ag) mineralization occurred in the Lower Cretaceous pyroclastics and volcanic lava. The host rock is a crystal lithic tuff with trachyandesite-andesite affinity in which the stratabound and lenticular ore body is extended discontinuously over 35 km that laterally and vertically changed into orbitolina limestone. Ore minerals include chalcocite, bornite, native copper, digenite, chalcopyrite, pyrite, Ag-bearing clausthalite, covellite, anilite, malachite and azurite. Ore textures and structures are open space filling, vein-veinlet, replacement, disseminated and laminated-like. The lithogeochemical studies in 6 lithostratigraphic profiles from NW to SE of Safashahr indicated Cu (-Ag) mineralization occurrence in a specific stratigraphic unit and a positive relationship with Zn. The lithological, mineralogical, lithogeochemical and microscopic investigations revealed that mineralization initially occurred contemporaneously with volcanism in volcano-sedimentary sequences (absorption of Cu by ferric hydroxide, clay minerals and replacement in feldspar lattice) and then in burial diagenesis during dehydration of pyroclastic and detrital units and alteration resulting from this hydrothermal fluid, Cu released and transported by hydrothermal diagenesis fluids. When this ore-bearing hydrothermal fluid received by the rock unit with high permeability (pyrite-bearing crystal lithic tuff) and reduced conditions resulted from abundance of pyite, replaced them as copper sulphide minerals. S isotopic data of sulphidic minerals indicated that the bacterially sulfate reduction of sea water as an important role provided the nessecary sulfur for sulfide mineralization. Geochemical features of volcanic and pyroclastic units indicated that they formed in an intra-arc rift. On the basis of this study and with respect to some evidences such as tectonic setting, host rock, lenticular shape of the ore body, structure and texture as well as mineral paragenesis we suggest that Keshtmahaki Cu (-Ag) mineralization and surrounding occurrences are Volcanic Red Bed (VRB) type deposit that formed and concentrated contemporaneously with submarine volcanism to deep burial diagenesis processes.