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TitleFluids preserved in variably altered graphitic pelitic schists in the Dufferin Lake Zone, south-central Athabasca Basin, Canada: implications for graphite loss and uranium deposition
AuthorPascal, M; Boiron, M -C; Ansdell, K; Annesley, I R; Kotzer, T; Jiricka, D; Cuney, M
SourceMineralium Deposita 2015 p. 1-18,
PublisherSpringer Nature
Mediaon-line; digital
File formatpdf
AreaDufferin Lake
Lat/Long WENS-108.0000 -107.5000 57.5000 57.2500
Subjectseconomic geology; igneous and metamorphic petrology; mineral deposits; mineralization; uranium; uranium deposits; fluid inclusions; graphite; schists; metamorphic rocks; analytical methods; petrography; spectroscopy; pressure-temperature conditions; Athabascan Basin; Dufferin Lake Zone; microthermometry
Illustrationslocation maps; photographs; photomicrographs; tables; histograms; plots; ternary diagrams
Released2015 12 07
AbstractThe Athabasca Basin (Canada) contains the highest grade unconformity-type uranium deposits in the world. Underlying the Athabasca Group sedimentary rocks of the Dufferin Lake Zone are variably graphitic, pelitic schists (VGPS), altered to chlorite and hematite (Red/Green Zone: RGZ). They were locally bleached near the unconformity during paleoweathering and/or later fluid interaction. Overall, graphite was lost from the RGZ and the bleached zone relative to the original VGPS. Fluid inclusions were examined in different generations of quartz veins, using microthermometry and Raman spectroscopy, to characterize and compare the different fluids that interacted with the RGZ and the VGPS. In the VGPS, CH4-, and N2-rich fluid inclusions, which homogenize into the vapor phase between -100 and -74 °C, and -152 and -125 °C, respectively, and CO2-rich fluid inclusions, homogenizing either into vapor or liquid between 20 and 28 °C, are present. Carbonic fluids could be the result of the breakdown of graphite to CH4?+?CO2, whereas N2-rich fluid is interpreted to be the result of breakdown of feldspars/micas to NH4 ++N2. In the RGZ, the presence of fluid inclusions with low ice melting temperature (-38 to -16 °C) reflect the presence of CaCl2, and fluid inclusions with halite daughter minerals that dissolve between 190 and 240 °C indicate the presence of highly saline fluids. These fluids are interpreted to be derived from the Athabasca Basin. The circulation of carbonic fluids and brines occurred during two different events related to different P-T conditions of trapping. The carbonic fluids interacted with basement rocks during retrograde metamorphism of the basement rocks before deposition of the Athabasca Basin, whereas the brines circulated after the deposition of the Athabasca Basin. These latter fluids are similar to brines related to uranium mineralization at McArthur River and thus, in addition to possibly being related to graphite depletion in the RGZ, they could be linked to uranium mineralization.