ABSTRACT

The Deer Horn deposit, located 150 km south of Smithers in west-central British Columbia, is an Eocene polymetallic system enriched in Au-Ag-Te with lesser amounts of Bi-Pb-W; the Au and Ag are hosted in Te-bearing minerals and Ag-rich gold (Au-Ag alloy). A quartz-sulfide vein system containing the main zones of Au-Ag-Te mineralization and attendant sericite alteration occurs in the hanging wall of a local, spatially related thrust fault and is genetically related to the nearby Eocene Nanika granodiorite intrusive suite. Tellurium-bearing minerals commonly form isolated euhedral to subhedral grains or composite grains (up to 525 μm in size) of Ag-, Bi-, Pb-, and Au-rich tellurium-bearing minerals (e.g., hessite, tellurobismuthite, volynskite, altaite, and petzite). Panchromatic cathodoluminescence imaging revealed four generations of quartz. Within remnant cores of quartz I, local oscillatory zoning occurs in quartz II. Fine-grained veinlets of quartz III and IV crosscut quartz I and II, showing evidence of at least two deformation events; late-forming veinlets of calcite crosscut all generations of quartz. The tellurides and Ag-rich gold occur in stage III quartz. Three types of fluid inclusions were observed in stage III and IV quartz: (1) aqueous liquid and vapor inclusions (L-V); (2) aqueous carbonic inclusions (L-L-V); and (3) carbonic inclusions (vapor-rich). Primary fluid inclusions related to the telluride mineralization within quartz III were tested with microthermometry, along with a few primary inclusions from quartz IV. Homogenization temperatures are 130.0–240.5 °C for L-V inclusions and 268.0–336.4 °C for L-L-V inclusions. Aqueous carbonic inclusions had solid CO2 melting temperatures from –62.1 to –56.8 °C, indicating the presence of ≈1 to 30 mol.% dissolved methane in these inclusions.

The Deer Horn Au-Ag-Te-(Bi-Pb-W) deposit is a reduced intrusion-related gold system characterized by sheeted veins, metal zoning, low salinity aqueous-carbonic fluids, and a genetic relationship to an Eocene granodiorite. Values of δ34S of pyrite vary from –1.6 to 1.6 per mil and are compatible with a magmatic source of sulfur.

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