Open Access

Rock-magnetism and ore microscopy of the magnetite-apatite ore deposit from Cerro de Mercado, Mexico

  • L. M. Alva-Valdivia1Email author,
  • A. Goguitchaichvili1,
  • J. Urrutia-Fucugauchi1,
  • C. Caballero-Miranda1 and
  • W. Vivallo2
Earth, Planets and Space201453:BF03352375

DOI: 10.1186/BF03352375

Received: 14 July 2000

Accepted: 24 January 2001

Published: 6 June 2014


Rock-magnetic and microscopic studies of the iron ores and associated igneous rocks in the Cerro de Mercado, Mexico, were carried out to determine the magnetic mineralogy and origin of natural remanent magnetization (NRM), related to the thermo-chemical processes due to hydrothermalism. Chemical remanent magnetization (CRM) seems to be present in most of investigated ore and wall rock samples, replacing completely or partially an original thermoremanent magnetization (TRM). Magnetite (or Ti-poor titanomagnetite) and hematite are commonly found in the ores. Although hematite may carry a stable CRM, no secondary components are detected above 580°, which probably attests that oxidation occurred soon enough after the extrusion and cooling of the ore-bearing magma. NRM polarities for most of the studied units are reverse. There is some scatter in the cleaned remanence directions of the ores, which may result from physical movement of the ores during faulting or mining, or from perturbation of the ambient field during remanence acquisition by inhomogeneous internal fields within these strongly magnetic ore deposits. The microscopy study under reflected light shows that the magnetic carriers are mainly titanomagnetite, with significant amounts of ilmenite-hematite minerals, and goethite-limonite resulting from alteration processes. Magmatic titanomagnetites, which are found in igneous rocks, show trellis, sandwich, and composite textures, which are compatible with high temperature (deuteric) oxy-exsolution processes. Hydrothermal alteration in ore deposits is mainly indicated by martitization in oxide minerals. Grain sizes range from a few microns to >100 μm, and possible magnetic state from single to multidomain, in agreement with hysteresis measurements. Thermal spectra, continuous susceptibility measurements, and IRM (isothermal remanent magnetization) acquisition suggest a predominance of spinels as magnetic carriers, most probably titanomagnetites with low-Ti content. For quantitative modeling of the aeromagnetic anomalies, we used data on bulk susceptibility and natural remanent intensity for quantifying the relative contributions of induced and remanent magnetization components and allow a better control of the geometry of source bodies. The position and geometry of this magnetic source are shown as an ENE-striking tabular body, steeply inclined (75°) to the south.