The MacMillan Pass district in Yukon, Canada, hosts the Tom and Jason clastic sediment-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag-(Ba) deposits. Pyrite-bearing drill core samples were collected from seven drill holes that intersected sulfide mineralization and time-stratigraphically equivalent rocks at varied spatial distances extending up to 3 km away from the deposits to assess the relative timing of pyrite mineralization and the chemistry of pyrite paragenesis. There are four pyrite morphologies: framboids and polyframboids (Py1), subhedral to euhedral inclusion-free crystals (Py2a), silicate inclusion-bearing nodules with serrated edges (Py2b), and euhedral idiomorphic overgrowths on preexisting pyrite morphologies (Py3). These morphological varieties correspond in time from syngenetic to earliest diagenetic growth (Py1), early to late diagenetic growth (Py2a, Py2b), and metamorphic crystallization and/or recrystallization of previous textural varieties (Py3). A representative subset of pyrite grains was analyzed for trace element contents and distributions by laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). Analyses by LA-ICP-MS reveal that each textural variety of pyrite has a distinct trace element composition that also varies depending on stratigraphic unit. A suite of clastic sediment-hosted sulfide mineralization-related elements was incorporated into Py2 within sulfide mineralized units at greater abundances than that in unmineralized units (e.g., Zn, As, Pb, Tl, Bi). Lead abundances and Pb/Se and As/Mo values in pyrite are the most robust vectoring tools documented. The timing for clastic sediment-hosted Zn-Pb mineralization was syn and/or post late diagenesis (Py2b).
A Ba-enriched horizon was identified in rocks and this is interpreted to be the distal time-stratigraphic equivalent unit to Zn-Pb mineralization. The Ba-enriched horizon contains Py2 with anomalous metal (Tl, Co, Mn, Cd, Zn, Sb) contents and abundant macroscopic baryte, and it is interpreted to represent the distal expression of sulfide mineralization-forming hydrothermal activity. Four genetic models for mineralization are reviewed; however, the only model that is consistent with our whole rock and pyrite geochemistry involves venting of buoyant hydrothermal fluid, mixing with ambient seawater, and remaining or sinking into unconsolidated sediments, with lateral migration up to 2–3 km from the vent source.