Abstract

The Midas Pond gold prospect, central Newfoundland, is hosted by sheared and altered felsic and mafic pyroclastic rocks of the Tulks Hill volcanics, Victoria Lake Group, and has been trenched and tested by 19 diamond-drill holes. Gold values are sporadic, with the best diamond-drill intersection assaying 7.3 g/t over 0.9 m, and the highest grade channel sample containing 14.7 g/t over 1.15 m. Alteration and mineralization are confined to a 200 m wide brittle-ductile shear zone. This shear zone formed in response to regional D1 deformation, and the shear zone fabric parallels the regional S1 foliation. D2 deformation resulted in broad Z-shaped flexuring of the shear zone. The deformation was probably related to the ca. 396 Ma to 420 Ma Salinic Orogeny.

Advanced argillic alteration and an extensive halo of Fe-carbonate and pyrite surround the gold mineralization. Alteration minerals include pyrophyllite, paragonite, quartz, plagioclase, chlorite, fluorite, Fe-carbonate, and pyrite. As such, the alteration seems to reflect combined epithermal (argillic) and mesothermal (carbonate) mineralizing environments. The argillic alteration and fluorite represent a regional hydrothermal effect on the felsic volcanic rocks; whereas, the Fe-carbonate and pyrite represent a mesothermal alteration associated with auriferous quartz veins.

The Au, which is spatially associated with pyrite, occurs in three structurally-controlled vein sets. These veins are confined to the contact between a highly deformed breccia (the banded mafic tuff) and structurally overlying, altered felsic tuffaceous rocks. The vein sets include: V1 boudinage veins that parallel the shear-zone fabric (C-shear veins), and V2 and V3 extensional fracture veins which are controlled by an S2 fracture cleavage. V1 veins are the earliest and contain the lowest concentrations of Au. V2 and V3 veins are concentrated within the hinges of the D2 flexures.

Pb isotope data for galena separates indicate that the Pb in the vein systems was probably of local derivation. Sulfur, C, and O isotope data for mineral separates are similar to data for typical mesothermal lode gold deposits. Fluid inclusion data suggest the presence of at least three hydrothermal fluid types in the region, viz., (1) an early saline fluid which produced the argillic alteration, (2) a CO2-bearing fluid directly related to the auriferous mineralization, and (3) H2O-NaCl fluids which flowed through the Midas Pond shear zone at a lateral distance from the zone of mineralization. The mineralizing fluids are interpreted to have been CO3−2-rich types which originated through metamorphic dehydration and decarbonation of mixed island-arc and continental crustal rocks. Gold precipitation resulted from the reaction of these fluids with the Fe-rich breccia unit. Pre-existing and simultaneously crystallizing pyrite served as loci for Au precipitation.

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