Abstract

Based on recent detailed mapping, a revised stratigraphic column is proposed for the rocks of the Archean Yellowknife Supergroup in the Yellowknife greenstone belt. The mafic volcanic rocks of the Kam Formation, previously thought to represent the oldest supracrustal rocks of the belt, overlap remnants of an earlier volcanic–sedimentary sequence, here referred to as the Octopus Formation. As its enormous thickness makes it too unwieldy to be described as a single formation, the Kam Formation is raised to group status and subdivided into four formations. It is proposed that the Kam Group should replace the Beaulieu Group in the Yellowknife area. The Chan Formation, at the base of the Kam Group, consists of multiple gabbroic intrusions that were emplaced into a carapace of pillowed flows. The intrusions locally resemble sheeted mafic dyke complexes in Phanerozoic ophiolites, thought to represent evidence for sea-floor spreading. The Crestaurum Formation, which overlies the Chan Formation, is characterized by massive and pillowed flows interlayered with a number of laterally continuous cherts and felsic tuffs. The Townsite Formation consists of rhyodacite breccias interbedded with felsic tuffs and pillowed dacites. The Yellowknife Bay Formation, at the top of the Kam Group and comprising massive and pillowed flows with pillow breccias and numerous interflow sediments, contains all the important gold deposits mined at Yellowknife. The Banting Formation, directly overlying the Kam Group and consisting of mafic to felsic volcanics, is also given group status and subdivided into two formations. Conglomerates and sandstones of the Jackson Lake Formation, formerly thought to separate the Kam and Banting groups, are considered to represent the youngest rocks of the Yellowknife Supergroup near Yellowknife. Gold-bearing shear zones clearly postdate deposition of the Banting Group, making the rocks of this group a potential target for gold exploration. The presence of remnants of a possible spreading center at the base of the Kam Group suggests that plate-tectonic processes were active during the formation of Archean supracrustal basins in the Slave Province.

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