Abstract

Fission tracks in detrital apatites from the Cambro-Ordovician metasedimentary basement in the vicinity of the Carboniferous-hosted Gays River Pb–Zn deposit, Nova Scotia, provide a record of final cooling during uplift and erosion of the Meguma Zone and constrain the timing of ore formation. Apatite fission track ages range from 203 to 241 Ma, with typical uncertainties of ± 10 Ma. Mean confined track lengths generally vary between 12.0 and 13.4 μm and indicate that the apatites record "apparent" ages only. An inferred thermal history involving regional heating to paleotemperatures > 110 °C during late Paleozoic burial followed by cooling to ~ 110 °C prior to 240–220 Ma is suggested. A more recent phase or regional heating to paleotem-peratures probably in the range of 60–80 °C during Late Cretaceous – early Tertiary (ca. 100–50 Ma) burial is also indicated by the track length data. Apatite fission track ages and mean track lengths from drill-core samples immediately beneath the Gays River orebody are similar to those for regional outcrop samples. At minimum temperatures > 200 °C estimated for ore formation, sulphide mineralization must either have preceded or accompanied regional heating to paleotemperatures > 110 °C during the late Paleozoic. Sulphide mineralization at Gays River must therefore have taken place at some time after ca. 330 Ma (the stratigraphic age of the lower Windsor Group host rocks) but before ca. 240–220 Ma (the last cooling of Meguma Group basement below 110 °C). These constraints on the timing of ore formation at Gays River are compatible with previous suggestions that Pb–Zn mineralization of Carboniferous strata in Nova Scotia occurred at ca. 300 Ma.

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