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Metal fluxes in the oceanic crust and formation of Volcanogenic Massive Sulfides in the Samail Ophiolite, Oman


The Samail Ophiolite in Oman is the largest and best preserved fragment of oceanic lithosphere on land, exposing otherwise inaccessible crust and mantle. It hosts 20+ Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide (VMS) deposits which are an important source of base metals and revenue for the country. Here I propose a new research pathway that uses the Samail ophiolite to unravel magmatic-hydrothermal processes leading to the formation of VMS deposits. Current studies suggest that the flux of metals to generate VMS may be provided by leaching of magmatic sulfides from the sub-volcanic units, but the role of magmatic oxides is poorly understood. Also, evidence that hydrothermal circulation in ophiolites reaches the crust-mantle transition demands an assessment of the bulk crustal metal budget. The Oman Drilling Project (ODP) is an international effort that provided drill-core sampling of the Samail ophiolite. My aim is to seize the timely synergies between the ODP and my ongoing studies of VMS, and investigate for the first time, the metal fluxes in a complete profile of oceanic crust to constrain VMS formation. To achieve this I will: 1) disentangle the factors that contribute to VMS metal signatures using mineralogy and trace element/multi-isotope geochemistry; 2) characterise the primary metallic mineral phases in the crustal profile to establish the metal budget available for cycling; 3) trace fluid pathways using cutting edge multiple S and Sr isotopes; and 4) deliver an integrative numerical model for metal cycling in the oceanic crust. The proposal builds on my multidisciplinary research experience bridging metallogeny and petrology in mafic systems, my VMS investigations and a multi-institution partnership that will consolidate my research profile and yield a significant knowledge transfer to my country. The results emerging from this MSCA can establish innovative mineral exploration guides, particularly for critical metals, adding value to land and sea hosted VMS deposits.

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-RI - RI – Reintegration panel


Campo Grande, Edificio C1, Piso 3
1749 016 Lisbon
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 159 815,04