Hyper-enriched black shale (HEBS) deposits in northern Yukon, consist of thin (<10 cm), laterally extensive (tens of thousands of km2) stratiform sulfide mineralization layer(s) that are hyper-enriched in Ni, Mo, Zn, platinum group elements, Re, and Au. The genesis of HEBS deposits and the ambient paleoenvironment in which they formed are the subject of vigorous debate. Non-traditional stable isotopes, particularly molybdenum and thallium, are robust paleoredox indicators and we have employed these isotope systems in this study of Yukon HEBS. Systematic sampling and Mo and Tl isotopic analysis of a continuous 200 m stratigraphic section through the Yukon HEBS mineralization and footwall and hanging-wall strata at the Peel River north and south bank showings (spaced five km apart) give δ98Mo –1.24 to –0.53‰ and –8.1 to –5.2 ε-units for the mineralization and –0.70 to 0.60‰ and –6.5 to –2.0 ε-units for the unmineralized strata. These values preclude a hydrothermal origin and strongly suggest that redox processes were responsible for the Yukon HEBS mineralization. The isotopic compositions, together with rare earth element (REE) systematics (REE profile, Y positive anomalies, Ce negative anomalies, and Y/Ho values) and other bulk geochemical redox indicators (Mo, V, Re/Mo, Ni/Co, U/Th, and V/Cr) indicate that the Peel River HEBS mineralization formed because of metal scavenging from seawater in a quiescent, euxinic basinal paleoenvironment.

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