Abstract

Several significant W – Sn – Mo – F-bearing hydrothermal mineral deposits occur in the Miramichi Highlands of central New Brunswick. These deposits are spatially and temporally related to a group of five subcircular, undeformed, high-level, posttectonic granite plutons (Burnthill, Dungarvon, Rocky Brook, Sisters Brook, Trout Brook) of Middle Devonian age. The largest of the plutons is the Burnthill Granite (area = 180 km2), which comprises a texturally variable, polyphase intrusion composed of biotite monzogranites and alkali feldspar granites (International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) classification); apatite and zircon are the ubiquitous accessory minerals. Field and petrographic data indicate that the Burnthill Granite and two small (< 7 km2) adjacent intrusions (Buttermilk Brook and Burnthill Mine granites), located 1 km from the southeast contact of the main intrusion, are genetically related and are epizonal in character. Classic epizonal features include sharp, discordant intrusive contacts with the host metasediments; a narrow contact metamorphic aureole with local zones of intense hydrothermal alteration and mineralization; an isotropic internal fabric; evidence of multiple intrusion; and the presence of porphyries.Geochemically the pluton is composed of mildly peraluminous, high-silica granites (SiO2 > 74 wt. %), with low abundances of TiO2, MgO, CaO, P2O5, Sr, Ba, and Eu, and high concentrations of Y, Nb, Sn, Cs, Ta, W, Th, and U; high FeO/MgO ratios and Na2O + K2O contents are typical. Covariation among many of the major and trace elements within the volumetrically important phases of the Burnthill Granite can be explained by the process of fractional crystallization, and has resulted in an enrichment of those elements of economic interest (viz., Sn and W) in the more evolved granites. However, the anomalous behaviour of certain elements in these most evolved phases requires the operation of an additional process; this was most likely aqueous phase saturation followed by fluid separation, a process whose activity is corroborated by field and petrographic evidence (e.g., the development of miarolitic cavities and myrmekite). Normative AbOrQAn contents for the Burnthill Granite have a mean compostion of Ab31Or28Q38An3. This average value is almost identical to that of the piercing point assemblage in the "haplogranodiorite" system with 3 % normative anorthite, and is consistent with crystallization under water-saturated conditions at about 1 kbar (100 MPa) and 730–800 °C.Structural and petrochemical data demonstrate that the W – Sn – Mo – F-bearing mineral deposits were deposited in fracture and fault systems that developed after crystallization was completed, from hydrothermal fluids that were compositionally similar (high concentrations of F, Na, K, Sn, W) to the more evolved silicate melt phases of the Burnthill Granite. In addition to generating the wolframite–cassiterite–fluorite mineral deposits that occur in both endo- and exo-granitic settings, these fluids produced zones of intense, fracture-controlled, aluminosilicate alteration (viz., K-feldspathization, albitization, greisenization, and topaz alteration) that envelop the zones of mineralization.

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