Chilean Iron Belt

The Chilean Iron Belt is a geological province rich in iron ore deposits in northern Chile. It extends as a north-south beld along the western part of the Chilean regions of Coquimbo and Atacama, chiefly between the cities of La Serena and Taltal.[1][2] The belt follows much of the Atacama Fault System and is about 600 km long and 25 km broad.[2][3]

Chilean Iron Belt
Stratigraphic range: Cretaceous
~132–84 Ma
TypeMining district
Coordinates27°21′59″S 70°25′59″W / 27.366389°S 70.433056°W / -27.366389; -70.433056Coordinates: 27°21′59″S 70°25′59″W / 27.366389°S 70.433056°W / -27.366389; -70.433056
RegionAtacama Region, Coquimbo Region
ExtentAtacama Fault System
Chilean Iron Belt (Chile)

Iron oxide-apatite, iron oxide copper gold ore deposits (IOCG) and manto-type copper and silver are the main types of deposits.[1][2] Iron-apatite and IOCG are considered to have different origins.[4] Manto-type deposits are concentrated in the northern part of the belt and are chiefly emplaced on rocks of La Negra Formation.[1]

The ores of the Chilean Iron Belt formed in separate pulses in the Cretaceous period as result of magmatic and hydrothermal processes.[1] At least part of the iron oxide-apatite rock originated from molten iron in the form of lava, tephra.[3] and intrusions.[4] Thus iron oxide apatite magma cooled into rock variously from surface volcanoes to depths of 10 km over even more.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Barra, Fernando; Reich, M.; Selby, D.; Rojas, P.; Simon, A.; Salazar, E.; Palma, G. (2017). "Unraveling the origin of the Andean IOCG clan: a Re-Os isotope approach". Ore Geology Reviews. 81 (1): 62–78.
  2. ^ a b c Simon, Adam C.; Knipping, Jaayne; Reich, Martin; Barra, Fernando; Deditius, Artur P.; Bilenker, Laura; Childress, Tristan (2018). "Kiruna-Type Iron Oxide-Apatite (IOA) and Iron Oxide Copper-Gold (IOCG) Deposits Form by a Combination of Igneous and Magmatic-Hydrothermal Processes: Evidence from the Chilean Iron Belt". In Arribas R., Antonio M.; Mauk, Jeffrey L. (eds.). Metals, Minerals, and Society. Society of Economic Geologists Special Publication. 21. p. 89–114. doi:10.5382/SP.21.
  3. ^ a b Travisany, Vinicio; Henríquez, Fernando; Nyström, Jan Olov (1995). "Magnetite lava flows in the Pleito-Melon District of the Chilean iron belt". Economic Geology. 90: 438–444.
  4. ^ a b c Tornos, Fernando; Hanchar, John M.; Munizaga, Rodrigo; Velasco, Francisco; Galindo, Carmen (2020). "The role of the subducting slab and melt crystallization in the formation of magnetite-(apatite) systems, Coastal Cordillera of Chile". Mineralium Deposita. doi:10.1007/s00126-020-00959-9.