Abstract

Mineralization at the Bralorne mesothermal gold vein deposit is closely related to a suite of early Late Cretaceous to early Tertiary dykes. Premineral albitite dykes (91.4 ± 1.4 Ma by U–Pb on zircons) and postmineral lamprophyre dykes (43.5 ± 1.5 Ma by K–Ar on biotite) set definite age limits on the mineralizing event. A late intra- to post-mineral green hornblende dyke set (85.7 ± 3.0 Ma by K–Ar on hornblende) that forms a transitional series to the albitites may further restrict the age. Thus, mineralization occurred long after emplacement of the host Bralorne intrusions, dated as Early Permian (minimum age of approximately 270 ± 5 Ma by U–Pb on zircons, 284 ± 20 Ma by K–Ar on hornblende, and 40Ar/39Ar plateau at 276 ± 31 Ma). Lithologically similar intrusions 20 km to the north near Gold Bridge are also Early Permian (287 ± 20 Ma by K–Ar on hornblende and 320 ± 80 Ma by a Rb–Sr whole-rock isochron). Geochronology, radiogenic and stable isotopes, and fluid-inclusion studies suggest that there were several pulses of mineralizing activity adjacent to and east of the Coast Plutonic Complex (CPC). Decreasing temperatures and younger age of mineralization with increasing distance from the CPC imply that plutons of the CPC were the main heat source responsible for mineralization. The main pulses were about 90 Ma for mesothermal Au–Ag–As ± W,Mo mineralization at Bralorne near the CPC, ranging outwards to 65 Ma for Ag–Au–Sb–As ± Hg mineralization at the Minto and Congress deposits, to 45 Ma for Ag–Au epithermal mineralization at Blackdome, 100 km east of the CPC.The Bralorne intrusions may have been emplaced below the sea floor in a spreading-ridge oceanic environment, as suggested by the petrology of the intrusive suite, which includes serpentinized ultramafite, hornblende diorite, and soda granite (trondhjemite), typical of an ophiolite association. The chemistry of volcanic rocks mapped as Cadwallader Group, which host these intrusive bodies, is transitional from mid-ocean-ridge basalts to island-arc tholeiite, suggesting a back-arc-basin setting. Gradational contact relations between the hornblende diorite and the volcanic rocks suggest that the diorite intruded its own volcanic products. Intrusive contacts of the diorite with adjacent elongate ultramafic bodies imply that the ultramafic rocks are of Permian or older age and had been structurally emplaced into crustal levels by the time of diorite intrusion. In the Bralorne fault block the Bralorne intrusions appear to cut the adjacent Cadwallader and Bridge River groups, implying an Early Permian or older age for at least parts of these groups. Thus, rocks mapped as Cadwallader Group in the Bralorne area could be distinct from and older than lithologic equivalents exposed elsewhere, although they are similar in terms of their petrology and major- and trace-element chemistry.

You do not currently have access to this article.