Abstract

The Little Falls member of the Nepisiguit Falls Formation is situated in the northern part of the Brunswick Belt of the Bathurst Mining Camp and has been interpreted as the distal equivalent of proximal tuffaceous rocks that host the stratiform Brunswick No. 12 and No. 6 Pb-Zn massive sulfide deposits. It comprises fine-grained, greenish-gray tuffaceous sandstone in the lower part, and coarse-grained, crystal-rich tuffaceous sandstone in the upper part. Petrographic evidence suggests that these rocks have a turbiditic origin. The Little Falls member is underlain by the Vallée Lourdes member, mainly composed of relatively shallow-water calcareous rocks, and is conformably overlain by Mn-rich sedimentary rocks, mainly red argillites that host the Tetagouche Falls Mn-(Fe) deposit. All these rocks are considered to belong to the Nepisiguit Falls Formation, part of the Ordovician Tetagouche Group.

Whole-rock geochemical data from the fine-grained tuffaceous sandstone and coarse-grained tuffaceous sandstone indicate that the two units of the Little Falls member are distinct. Zr and TiO2 contents, and total rare earth element (REE) values are higher in the coarse-grained unit (average Zr/TiO2 = 0.040, average ∑REE = 247 ppm, n = 6) than in the fine-grained unit (average Zr/TiO2 = 0.048, average ∑REE = 158 ppm, n = 17), which can be attributed to the variation in crystal content between the two units. Both units are HREE-enriched and have elevated La/Yb relative to the typical Nepisiguit Falls Formation. Overall, the geochemical data combined with evidence from the bounding units suggest that the Little Falls member was deposited in relatively shallow water, possibly in a near-arc environment. The relationship of volcanic facies within the Nepisiguit Falls Formation and the geochemistry of these facies indicate strongly that fine grained, reworked tuffaceous rocks, regardless of whether they are the distal equivalents of proximal tuffaceous rocks, are not associated with the major ore-bearing horizons of the Bathurst Mining Camp.

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