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TitlePetrogenesis of the Rambler Rhyolite formation: controls on the Ming VMS deposit and geodynamic implications for the Taconic Seaway, Newfoundland Appalachians, Canada
AuthorPilote, J L; Piercey, S JORCID logo
SourceAmerican Journal of Science vol. 318, 6, 2018 p. 640-683,
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200161
PublisherAmerican Journal of Science
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceNewfoundland and Labrador
Lat/Long WENS -57.0000 -55.0833 50.0333 49.0667
Subjectseconomic geology; geochemistry; Science and Technology; Nature and Environment; mineral deposits; copper; zinc; silver; gold; ore mineral genesis; mineralization; ore controls; petrogenesis; volcanogenic deposits; felsic volcanic rocks; geodynamics; Taconic Orogen; Appalachian Province; Taconic Seaway; Rambler Rhyolite; Snooks Arm Group; Ming Deposit; Phanerozoic; Paleozoic; Ordovician; Cambrian
Illustrationslocation maps; stratigraphic columns; tables; plots; distribution diagrams; schematic diagrams
Released2018 06 01
AbstractThe Ming Cu-Zn-Ag-Au volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit is hosted by the Upper Cambrian-Lower Ordovician Rambler Rhyolite formation, which consists of a folded northeast plunging felsic dome complex, developed in the uppermost segment of the obducted supra-subduction Bale Verte oceanic tract, in the north central Newfoundland Appalachians. The deposit is overlain by interstratified mafic volcanic flows and volcaniclastic rocks of the Snooks Arm Group. The upper 1 km of the Rambler Rhyolite formation consists of a coherent felsic lithofacies at its base, overlain by a quartz-bearing volcaniclastic-dominated lithofacies (units 1.2 and 1.3). Geochemically, these rocks are light rare earth element (LREE)- and large ion lithophile element (LILE)-enriched ([La/Yb](pn)= 4-20; Th = 2.58-4.05 ppm), and high field strength element (HFSE)-depleted . (Y = 5.64-6.59 ppm) rhyodacite with calk-alkalic affinities (Th/Yb > 2; Zr/Y > 7). The last pulse of felsic volcanism (unit 1.3) is intimately associated with the massive sulfide lenses and has FI- and FII-type rhyolite signatures (high La/Yb ratios), commonly attributed to deep (>= 30 km) crustal melting. The epsilon Nd-(t) values of the rhyolites range from -2.5 to -1.3, indicating the rocks were influenced by crustal material. A 10 percent batch partial melt of a garnet-amphibole metamorphosed normal mid-oceanic ridge basalt (N-MORB) and island arc tholeiite (IAT) crustal material can generate a melt similar to the felsic rocks hosting the Ming deposit; however, the IAT reproduces much better the absolute abundances of LILE (Th, Sr), HFSE (Nb, Zr, Y), and middle rare earth elements (MREE) of the felsic rocks. It is interpreted that the felsic melt came from melting of a subducted slab with IAT affinity, thus explaining the depth of melt generation and FI-FII signatures of the felsic rocks. Moreover, the slab-derived siliceous melt may also have contributed magmatophile elements (for example, Ag, Au, Se, Te, Sn, Sb, Hg) into the hydrothermal system once it had reached near-surface depths, and may explain the epithermal suite element-enrichment in the Ming deposit. This study shows that strongly fractionated felsic volcanic rocks associated with boninites, such as those associated with the Ming VMS deposit, can be important hosts for precious metal-enriched VMS and may be as prospective as tholelitic felsic volcanic sequences (for example, FIII-FIV-type rhyolite - low La/Yb ratios). The base of the Snooks Arm Group is comprised of spatially restricted sulfide-bearing mafic breccia, overlain by a regionally extensive sedimentary sequence (epsilon Nd-(t) = +3.1 to +5.5), which is in turn overlain by interstratified high-Mg basalt (epsilon Nd-(t) = + 1.6), Th-enriched back-arc basin basalt (BABB), enriched mid-oceanic ridge basalt (E-MORB; epsilon Nd-(t) = + 6.6), and LREE-enriched/low-Ti tholeiitic tuffs (epsilon Nd-(t) = - 0.5). Four generations of mafic to intermediate dikes and sills cross-cut the Rambler Rhyolite formation and share similar geochemical characteristics to the extrusive rocks of the Snooks Arm Group, suggesting comagmatic relationships. The combination of variations in Nb/Yb, Th /Yb, and epsilon Nd-(t) values within and between units suggest melts derived from depleted to enriched mantle material with melts synchronously generated by both slab-metasomatized mantle wedge and upwelling back-arc asthenosphere.

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