• S–Pb isotope;
  • Re–Os geochronology;
  • molybdenite;
  • Yanjiagou porphyry molybdenum deposit;
  • Mapeng batholith;
  • North China Craton

The Yanjiagou deposit, located in the central North China Craton (NCC), is a newly found porphyry-type Mo deposit. The Mo mineralization here is spatially associated with the Mapeng batholith. In this study, we identify four stages of ore formation in this deposit: pyrite phyllic stage (I), quartz–pyrite stage (II), quartz–pyrite–molybdenite stage (III), which is the main mineralization stage, and quartz–carbonate stage (IV). We present sulphur and lead isotope data on pyrite, and rhenium and osmium isotopes of molybdenite from the porphyry deposit and evaluate the timing and origin of ore formation. The δ34S values of the pyrite range from -1.1‰ to −0.6‰, with an average of −0.875‰, suggesting origin from a mixture of magmatic/mantle sources and the basement rocks. The Pb isotope compositions of the pyrite show a range of 16.369 to 17.079 for 206Pb/204Pb, 15.201 to 15.355 for 207Pb/204Pb, and 36.696 to 37.380 for 208Pb/204Pb, indicating that the ore-forming materials were derived from a mixture of lower crust (or basement rocks) and mantle. Rhenium contents in molybdenite samples from the main ore stage are between 74.73 to 254.43 ppm, with an average of 147.9 ppm, indicating a mixed crustal-mantle source for the metal. Eight molybdenite separates yield model ages ranging from 124.17 to 130.80 Ma and a mean model age of 128.46 Ma. An isochron age of 126.7 ± 1.1 Ma (MSWD = 2.1, initial 187Os = 0.0032 ± 0.0012 ppb) is computed, which reveals a close link between the Mo mineralization and the magmatism that generated the Mapeng batholith. The age is close to the zircon U–Pb age of ca. 130 Ma from the batholith reported in a recent study. The age is also consistent with the timing of mineralization in the Fuping ore cluster in the central NCC, as well as the peak time of lithosphere thinning and destruction of the NCC. We evaluate the spatio-temporal distribution of the Mo deposits in the NCC and identify three important molybdenum provinces along the northern and southern margins of the craton formed during three distinct episodes: Middle to Late Triassic (240–220 Ma), Early Jurassic (190–175 Ma), and Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous (150–125 Ma). The third period is considered to mark the most important metallogenic event, coinciding with the peak of lithosphere thinning and craton destruction in the NCC. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.