Skridlaitė, G., Šiliauskas L., Prušinskienė S., Bagiński B.
Petrography and mineral chemistry of the Varena Iron Ore deposit, southeastern Lithuania: implications for the evolution of carbonate and silicate rocks and ore mineralizationAbstract The large Varena Iron Ore deposit of southeast Lithuania lies beneath 200–400 m thick sedimentary cover in the East European Craton. Several drilling projects have revealed that it contains ca. 70–200 million tons of iron ore. A metasomatic origin has been proposed by several investigators, with an igneous (mafic, ultramafic carbonatitic) origin also considered. Detailed micropetrography on a variety of ore-bearing and skarnitised samples through backscattered electron imaging, along with mineral chemical analysis and monazite dating by electron microprobe, provide support for a metasomatic origin. High-grade temperature (ca. 700–750° C) skarns containing forsterite, enstatite, spinel and diopside were formed preferentially in carbonate-rich rocks and were subsequently overprinted by amphibole-bearing (tremolite, actinolite, anthophyllite and hornblende) skarns. A low-temperature hydrous influx and changing redox conditions not only caused the serpentinization of the earlier skarns, but also deposited a considerable amount of iron ore in the form of magnetite. Iron was derived from various sources and was accompanied by sulphide, apatite, REE and other mineralizations. The ca. 1.78 Ga monazite grew during the regional metamorphism, while ca. 1.54 Ga is attributed to the last mineralization phases.