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St. John's, Canada

Saumur B.M.,Monash University | Saumur B.M.,University of Toronto | Saumur B.M.,Geological Survey of Canada | Cruden A.R.,Monash University | And 3 more authors.
Economic Geology | Year: 2015

The Voisey's Bay intrusion of the Mesoproterozoic Nain Plutonic Suite hosts a world-class magmatic Ni- Cu-Co sulfide deposit. Here we document the brittle and ductile structure of gneisses surrounding the intrusion using field data, borehole intersections, and subsurface structural data obtained from acoustic and optical televiewer surveys. We elucidate the role that wall-rock structure played on controlling the geometry of the intrusion and the formation of structural traps that host mineralization. The Voisey's Bay intrusion consists at first order of two km-scale magma chambers, interpreted to represent an upper and lower chamber of the intrusion, that are connected by a system of dikes. Three types of gneiss, associated with the Paleoproterozoic Torngat orogen, form the wall rocks of the intrusion: Archean orthogneiss, Paleoproterozoic Tasiuyak paragneiss, and Paleoproterozoic enderbitic orthogneiss. Three phases of ductile deformation (D1-D3), predating intrusion emplacement, are recorded in the wall-rock gneisses. D1 produced the dominant S1 fabric, subparallel to original bedding (S0) in the Tasiuyak gneiss. D2 shortening caused shallowly plunging, upright to moderately inclined, F2 folds in the enderbitic gneiss, the prototype of which was likely emplaced toward the end of D1. D3 ductile deformation resulted in steeply dipping shear zones, and flat lying to shallowly dipping C3 shear planes. At least two later phases of brittle deformation (D4 and D5) are present. D4 is a preemplacement event characterized by fractures with orientations similar to D3 shear zones and shear planes. D5 faults and joints formed during syn- to postemplacement brittle deformation likely associated with E-W brittle sinistral transtension associated with the Mesoproterozoic Gardar-Voisey's Bay fault zone. The geometry of the Voisey's Bay intrusion and its mineralization was controlled by pre- to synemplacement brittle structures and preemplacement ductile structures, which acted as passive wall-rock anisotropies. Mineralization hosted within Tasiuyak gneiss is controlled by the intersection of a dike with S1/S0, D3 shear zones and D4 fractures. Where the intrusion occurs within enderbitic gneiss, mineralization locally coincides with shallow fabrics associated with F2 fold closures. The margins of the Voisey's Bay dikes are controlled by steeply and shallowly dipping D4 fractures. Changes in dike thickness, which control the locations of mineralization, can be explained by thermomechanical erosion of the walls of the dike, which occurs by thermal expansion and contraction of wall rock due to repeated magma pulses, and the mechanical spalling of this wall rock along anisotropies. The strong brittle structural control on emplacement, along with previous geothermobarometry, is consistent with a mid-crustal (9-11 km) depth of emplacement. Lithosphere-scale E-W-trending D5 faults may have acted as conduits for the crustal-scale transport of primitive Voisey's Bay magmas from their source, rather than an older orogenic suture zone. © 2015 Society of Economic Geologists, Inc. Source

Huminicki M.A.E.,Memorial University of Newfoundland | Huminicki M.A.E.,Brandon University | Sylvester P.J.,Memorial University of Newfoundland | Shaffer M.,Memorial University of Newfoundland | And 3 more authors.
Exploration and Mining Geology | Year: 2012

Systematic characterization of the mineralogy of massive sulfide ore deposits can provide valuable insights into ore genesis and metallurgical processing that would not be apparent otherwise. We describe a method wherein (1) normative mineral abundances are calculated from whole-rock chemical assays using an algorithm, (2) the results are cast in block models, (3) the results are then verified with automated image analysis of a subset of samples prepared as grain mounts by backscattered electron imaging and X-ray mapping on a scanning electron microscope, and (4) those verified results are integrated with textural data determined by optical microscopy. The technique is applied to the magmatic Ni-Cu-Co sulfides of the Ovoid orebody, based on geochemical assays of 3175 whole-rock samples. Three principal ore zones are defined in the Ovoid. Type I ore occurs in the center of the deposit; it is magnetite-rich and pyrrhotite-poor with intermediate contents of pentlandite and chalcopyrite. Type II ore surrounds Type I ore and is pentlanditechalcopyrite-rich with intermediate contents of pyrrhotite and magnetite. Type III ore occurs at the base and along the outer periphery of the northern part of the orebody; it is pyrrhotite-rich and chalcopyrite-poor with an intermediate content of pentlandite, and a low-to-intermediate content of mag netite. ©2012 Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. All rights reserved. Source

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