Abstract

Rocks hosting the Silver Queen epithermal Au–Ag–Zn–Pb–Cu vein deposit near Owen Lake, British Columbia, belong to the Tip Top Hill volcanics. They are lithologically similar to the informally named Upper Cretaceous Kasalka Group rocks exposed in the type area at Tahtsa Lake, 75 km southwest of the deposit, and at Mount Cronin, 100 km northwest of the deposit. The Kasalka Group rocks in the Tahtsa Lake area give questionable dates of 105 ± 5 Ma by K–Ar on whole rock but are cut by intrusions dated at 83.8 ± 2.8 Ma by K–Ar on biotite. The sequence at the Silver Queen deposit includes a polymictic conglomerate, followed upward by felsic fragmental rocks and a thick porphyritic andesite flow and sill unit, cut by microdiorite and quartz–feldspar porphyry intrusions. The porphyritic andesite and the microdiorite have been dated as Late Cretaceous (78.3 ± 2.7 and 78.7 ± 2.7 Ma, respectively, by K–Ar on whole rock), close to previous dates for these rocks (77.1 ± 2.7 and 75.3 ± 2.0 Ma, respectively). The quartz–feldspar porphyry intrudes the porphyritic andesites but has an older U–Pb zircon date of 84.6 ± 0.2 Ma, probably due to underestimation of the true age of the host rocks by the K–Ar whole-rock method. Later dykes correlate with younger volcanic rocks belonging to the Ootsa Lake and Endako groups. Eocene pre- and postmineral plagioclase-rich dykes (51.9 ± 1.8 to 51.3 ± 1.8 Ma) and late diabase dykes (50.4 ± 1.8 Ma; all by K–Ar on whole rock) may be correlative with trachyandesite volcanics of the Goosly Lake Formation, part of the Eocene Endako Group. These volcanics have been dated elsewhere at 55.6 ± 2.5 to 48.8 ± 1.8 Ma by K–Ar on whole rock and biotite, respectively. Mineralization at Silver Queen is therefore similar in age to, but slightly younger than, the producing Equity mine located 30 km to the northeast, which is estimated at 58.5 ± 2.0 Ma by K–Ar on whole rock.

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