Abstract

Several Au–Ag gossans occur over massive sulphide deposits in the Ordovician Tetagouche Group near Bathurst, New Brunswick. The Murray Brook and Heath Steele B zone goethite gossans were about 45 and 15 m thick, respectively, prior to mining. They contain no minerals suitable for radiometric age dating. Geologically they must be younger than the Devonian Acadian orogeny and older than the last glaciation. Paleomagnetic methods were used to analyse specimens from 29 sites, mostly from ore on the pit walls. Host rocks and sulphide mineralization retain characteristic remanent magnetization directions in magnetite and pyrrhotite with a variety of directions that include possible Devonian overprints. Fertile and barren gossan specimens at 21 sites retain antiparallel normal and reversed A characteristic remanence components in goethite and (or) hematite. The A direction is D = 357.7°, I = 61.7 °(α95 = 4.5°, k = 31). Its pole of 134.2°E, 85.2°N (dp = 5.4°, dm = 7.0°) falls on the North American apparent polar wander path and circumscribes the Earth's present rotational axis, indicating that the gossans formed during the Pliocene–Pleistocene. Examination of the site locations in the pits, along with the remanence polarity of their goethite and hematite A components, suggests the gossans formed during Chrons 1 and 2 only, or in the past 2.3 ± 0.3 Ma.

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