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Crossing the magmatic-hydrothermal interface within ore-forming systems with numerical models (CROWN)

Future exploration for mineral resources will target greater depths and submarine settings, which is costly and technically challenging. For this development, numerical modeling can be used to identify the governing processes within entire ore-forming systems, affecting ore deposition under various geological scenarios.

Magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits form our largest resources of Cu, Mo, Sn and W and are formed by fluids released from magmatic intrusions into a hydrothermal system within the country rock. The potential to form world-class deposits critically depends on cross-boundary fluid fluxes at this magmatic-hydrothermal interface, which is the key unknown in our current understanding of these deposits. However, the time-scales and depth ranges relevant for these processes essentially prevent direct observations and so far numerical simulations have to rely on a number of parameterizations. Capturing the dynamics of these interface processes requires a fundamentally new modelling approach with a continuum that extends beyond the roots of hydrothermal systems and bridges the gaps between fluid flow and magma dynamics. The CROWN project develops a consistent formulation for fluid generation and transport in a coupled model for viscous flow according to the Navier-Stokes-Equations and porous flow with Darcy’s Law. Furthermore, the model simulates dynamic permeability changes and focused flow caused by fractures to describe patterns of magmatic-hydrothermal circulation and transient behavior. The simulations will be constrained with conceptual models for the major types of magmatic-hydrothermal ore deposits. We further collaborate with other DOME projects working on submarine magmatic-hydrothermal deposits (GEOMAR Kiel) and greisen-type mineralization (TU Bergakademie Freiberg). The topic further connects to other SPP-projects centering on laboratory experiments, providing additional potential for future collaborations.