Field Trip Day Two: Road Log for the Lyon Mountain Iron Mine and Northwest Adirondack Mountains Geology, New York
Published:January 01, 2001
James M. McLelland, John F. Slack, William F. DeLorraine, 2001. "Field Trip Day Two: Road Log for the Lyon Mountain Iron Mine and Northwest Adirondack Mountains Geology, New York", Part I. Proterozoic Iron and Zinc Deposits of the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the New Jersey Highlands Part II. Environmental Geochemistry and Mining History of Massive Sulfide Deposits in the Vermont Copper Belt, John F. Slack, Jane M. Hammarstrom, Robert R. Seal
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This Day of the field trip visits the large Chateaugay open pit of the Lyon Mountain group of iron mines, in the northern Adirondack Mountains, following by visits to roadcuts in the Adirondack Lowlands to the west, in the vicinity of the Balmat zinc mine. The Chateaugay open pit has superb exposures of iron ore remaining on walls and in the entrances to stopes, which clearly establish the geologic and paragenetic relations of the magnetite ores and yield compelling evidence for their high-temperature, intramagmatic origin via hydrothermal fluids (McLelland et al., 2001b, 2001c). A wide variety of rock types ranging from leucogranite to mineralized skarns are present.
In the afternoon this day features stops at five roadcuts between the town of Gouverneur, New York, and the Balmat zinc mine to the east. These roadcuts provide a good overview of the regional geologic setting of the Balmat deposit, including stratigraphy, structure, deformation, and metamorphism. Whereas the geochronology in the Adirondack Highlands to the east is well established (e.g., McLelland et al., 2001c), the Lowlands is underlain mostly by metasedimentary rocks hence its precise age range is difficult to determine. One constraint is provided by U-Pb zircon ages of 1284 ±7 Ma, 1236 ± 6 Ma, and 1230 ± 33 Ma for the Gouverneur, Fish Creek, and Hyde School alaskite bodies, respectively, that occur in the Lowlands (Grant et. al., 1986; McLelland and Chiarenzelli, 1990; McLelland et al., 1992). Although these alaskite bodies were interpreted by Carl and Van Diver (1975) to
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Part I. Proterozoic Iron and Zinc Deposits of the Adirondack Mountains of New York and the New Jersey Highlands Part II. Environmental Geochemistry and Mining History of Massive Sulfide Deposits in the Vermont Copper Belt
This First day of the field trip visits Proterozoic iron deposits at the Podunk and Skiff Mountain iron mines, in the eastern Adirondack Mountains of New York state. Included are roadcuts to see representative lithologies and structures in the region surrounding the iron deposits. The origin of these iron deposits has been controversial, but studies by Foose and McLelland (1995) and more recently by McLelland et al. (2001b, 2001c) provide strong evidence for a high-temperture, intramagmatic origin related to late stages the Lyon Mountain Granite and correlative intrusions during the latter part of the 1090 to 1030 Ma Ottawan orogeny. The great majority of the deposits consist of low Ti magnetite ore accompanied by apatite and aegerine-augite. The apatite has high concentrations of rare-earth elements (REE) indicating to Foose and McLelland (1995) that the deposits are of Kiruna (REE-Au-U-Cu) type. This is further supported by persistent sodic (i.e., albitic) alteration associated with the ores. Most of the iron ores appear to be undeformed although they may occur in strained host rocks. Deposits are intimately associated with late tectonic to post-tectonic Lyon Mountain Granitic Gneiss that was emplaced at ca. 1055 Ma, during the waning stages of the ca. 1090 to 1030 Ma Ottawan Orogeny.