Volcanogenic mineralisation in the limestone lake area, Saskatchewan, Canada
This thesis describes the geology, geochemistry and mineralogy of a Lower Proterozoic, metamorphosed volcanogenic Cu-Zn deposit, situated at the western end of the Flin Flon greenstone belt. Stratabound copper mineralisation occurs in silicified and chloritoid-bearing alteration assemblages within felsic tuffs and is mantled by thin (< 3m) high-grade sphalerite layers. Mineralisation is underlain by garnet-hornblende bearing Lower Iron Formation (LIF), and overlain by garnet-grunerite bearing Upper Iron Formation (UIF). Distinctive trace element trends, involving Ti and Zr, in mineralised and footwall felsic tuffs are interpreted to have formed by fractionation associated with a high-level magma chamber in a caldera-type environment. Discrimination diagrams for basaltic rocks are interpreted to indicate their formation in an environment similar to that of recent, primitive, tholeiitic island arcs. Microprobe studies of key mineral phases demonstrate large and small scale chemical variations in silicate phases related to primary lithological, rather than metamorphic, controls. LIF is characterised by alumino-ferro-tschermakite and relatively Mn-poor, Ca-rich garnets, whereas UIF contains manganoan grunerite and Mn-rich garnets. Metamorphic mineral reactions are considered and possible precursor assemblages identified for garnet-, and chloritoid-bearing rocks. Chloritoid-bearing rocks are interpreted as the metamorphosed equivalents of iron-rich feeder zones formed near the surface. The iron-formations are thought to represent iron-rich sediments formed on the sea floor formed from the venting of the ore fluids. Consideration of various mineral assemblages leads to an estimate for peak metamorphic conditions of 450-500oC and > 4Kb total pressure. Comparisons with other volcanogenic deposits indicate affinities with deposits of `Mattabi-type' from the Archean of Ontario. An extrapolation of the main conclusions of the thesis to adjacent areas points to the presence of a number of geologically similar localities with potential for mineralisation.