Geology and geochemistry-based metallogenic exploration model for the eastern Tethys Himalayan metallogenic belt, Tibet

Wenbao Zheng, Bingli Liu*, Jennifer McKinley, Mark R. Cooper, Lu Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Tethyan Himalaya is the fourth metallogenic belt discovered to date within the Tibetan Plateau and contains chromite, gold and Sb–polymetallic mineralization. The belt records a series of complex tectonic–magmatic events that include the break-up, subduction, collision, detachment, and obduction of the Eastern Gondwana continent, all of which generated ideal conditions for ore formation. However, this area remains under-explored, with only limited knowledge of the deposit types present in this area and their relationship to tectonic and magmatic events. This has hampered mineral exploration in the region. This study uses previous research and
mineral exploration in this region, combined with knowledge of mineralization in adjacent regions, to suggest the presence of three main deposit types (ophiolitic chromite, orogenic Au, and hydrothermal vein
Sb–polymetallic deposits), and highlights the potential for this area to host as yet undiscovered island arc-type porphyry Cu–Au and leucogranite-related Sn–(Be) mineralization. This study summaries the relationship between the tectonic evolution and magmatism within the region and the mineralization, establishing a temporal and spatial framework for mineralization within the eastern Tethys Himalayan metallogenic belt.
Improved knowledge of the geochemical signatures of mineralization, obtained using compositional data analysis (CoDA) combined with geological information, enabled the identification of nine compositional balances, including the presence of sedimentary units, accretionary wedge structures, leucogranites, mafic–ultramafic rocks, chromite mineralization, Au mineralization, and Sb–polymetallic mineralization. This study establishes a predictive mineral exploration model for the eastern Tethys Himalayan metallogenic belt and combines this model with geological and geochemical data to identify areas for future exploration. These targets
include a 50-km-long ophiolitic belt in the Nedong area that is highly prospective for chromite mineralization; a positive Au–Cu–Mo geochemical anomaly in the Qonggyai–Qusum area that is prospective for orogenic Au
mineralization; and positive Au–Cu–Mo geochemical anomalies in the Nianzha, Sangri, and Gyaca areas that are prospective for exploration for Xiongcun-type island arc-associated porphyry Cu–Au mineralization, as well as deep-seated extensions to known Sb–polymetallic mineralization and the inner and outer contacts of the Lhozhag and Cuonadong leucogranite, all of which are prospective for exploration for Sn–(Be) mineralization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106743
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geochemical Exploration
Early online date11 Feb 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 11 Feb 2021


  • Geology
  • Compositional data analysis
  • Regional metallogeny
  • Metallogenic prediction model
  • Tethys Himalaya

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economic Geology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Applied Mathematics

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