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Critical mineral resources related to the rise and fall of a supercontinent

The European Variscides host significant resources of energy and technology critical raw materials (ETRs) associated to various types of hydrothermal systems. Hydrothermal mineralization in central and western Europe is mainly related to the i) amalgamation and ii) the breakup of the supercontinent Pangea during the Late-Paleozoic and Mesozoic, respectively. These mega tectonic events also facilitated the formation of mineral deposits in northern Africa and eastern North America. Late-Paleozoic magmatic-hydrothermal activity was associated with the formation of greisen, skarn and epithermal vein systems that host valuable Li, Sn, W, Ag, Zn, Sb Cu and In. Conversely, Mesozoic rift-related hydrothermal activity resulted in the formation of unconformity-related vein type mineralization, which host significant resources of Co, Ni, Bi, Ag, Zn and fluorite.

This talk provides a brief overview on the different deposit types and associated ETRs in central Europe and discusses ore-forming mechanisms in two distinctly different geological environments (orogenic vs. rift-related). After discussing ore-forming mechanisms on the deposit scale, the findings are complemented by a large amount of recent geochronological data (mainly in-situ LA-ICP-MS U-Pb) that constrain the age of individual ore deposits and mineral occurrences in the context of the larger tectonic framework of central Europe. These results are integrated into preliminary continental-scale geological models for Late-Paleozoic and Mesozoic hydrothermal systems in central and western Europe. The preliminary models convincingly demonstrate that individual ore deposits are local expressions of geological processes that occur on a mega tectonic scale – driven by the rise and fall of the supercontinent Pangea.  


Mathias Burisch1
1TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany
GeoMinKöln 2022