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TitleEnigmatic massive sulphide mineralization in the High Arctic Large Igneous Province, Nunavut, Canada
AuthorWilton, D H C; Saumur, B M; Gordon, A; Williamson, M -CORCID logo
SourceCanadian Journal of Earth Sciences vol. 56, no. 7, 2019 p. 790-801,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20180170
PublisherCanadian Science Publishing
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf (Adobe® Reader®)
AreaCanadian Arctic Archipelago; Queen Elizabeth Islands; Axel Heiberg Island; White Glacier; Thompson Glacier
Lat/Long WENS -90.6000 -79.4667 90.7833 79.4250
Lat/Long WENS -90.6000 -79.4667 90.7833 79.4250
Subjectseconomic geology; mineralogy; geochemistry; tectonics; Science and Technology; mineral deposits; sulphide deposits; mineral exploration; mineralization; mineral occurrences; models; mineralogical analyses; pyrrhotite; pyrite; chalcopyrite; sphalerite; petrographic analyses; geochemical analyses; cobalt; copper; zinc; nickel; isotopic studies; sulphur isotope ratios; tectonic history; magmatism; heat flow; intrusions; sills; dykes; hydrothermal systems; metallogeny; scanning electron microscope analyses; host rocks; bedrock geology; lithology; sedimentary rocks; evaporites; shales; mudstones; sandstones; igneous rocks; volcanic rocks; basalts; intrusive rocks; structural features; diapirs; faults; faults, reverse; folds; anticlines; synclines; x-ray fluorescence analyses; mass spectrometer analysis; whole rock geochemistry; meteoric waters; High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP); Sverdrup Basin; Between Lake Showing; Rotten Rock Ridge Intrusion; Heiberg Formation; Savik Formation; Awingak Formation; Isachsen Formation; Strand Fiord Formation; Otto Fiord Formation; Expedition Diapir; Colour Diapir; Hidden Diapir; Little Matterhorn; Deer Bay Formation; platinum group elements; Phanerozoic; Mesozoic; Cretaceous; Jurassic; Triassic
Illustrationslocation maps; geoscientific sketch maps; satellite images; photographs; photomicrographs; tables; frequency distribution diagrams
ProgramGEM2: Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals Western Arctic, High Arctic LIP
Released2019 07 04
AbstractModern mineral exploration strategies should take into account nontraditional metallogenic models for a given geological environment. Here we document the first detailed study of a massive sulphide showing associated with the High Arctic Large Igneous Province (HALIP) and Sverdrup Basin and in fact, only the second example of mineralization described from Axel Heiberg Island, Queen Elizabeth Islands, Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The Between Lake showing (western Axel Heiberg Island) is a small massive sulphide occurrence within scree/talus below a large ridge of gabbro. It was originally described by explorationists as an orthomagmatic sulphide occurrence hosted within a dioritic dyke. New petrographic and mineralogical analyses indicate that the showing consists predominantly of pyrrhotite with lesser pyrite, trace chalcopyrite, and rare sphalerite. No Ni- or Pb-bearing sulphide minerals were detected. Geochemically, the showing contains some Co and Cu, rare Zn, and generally very low Ni contents (<9 ppm). Sulphur isotope ratios of sulphide minerals range from +3.6 to + 6.6‰, somewhat heavier than expected for magmatic-derived S but isotopically lighter than S associated with local evaporite diapirs (+5.8 permille to +12.2 permille). Orthomagmatic sulphides hosted in the diorite typically exhibit even lighter isotopic ratios of -3.9 permille to -1.00 permille. The data are consistent with potential mafic-siliciclastic volcanogenic massive sulphide mineralization, or the like, the first documented in the HALIP. High heat flow associated with extensive HALIP magmatism was likely the driving force for such mineralization. Mineral prospectivity in Canada's High Arctic had been predicated upon the potential presence of magmatic Ni-Cu- platinum group element sulphide mineralization. Rather than negating this potential, our findings provide evidence for additional metallogenic potential for this region of Nunavut.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
This work represents the first detailed study of an occurrence of massive sulfide mineralization within the High Arctic Large Igneous Province, on Axel Heiberg Island, northern Nunavut. Although poor in metals, our work suggests that that the sulphide is hydrothermal, not magmatic, in origin, thereby providing a new mineralization model for the area.

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