Abstract

Regional till sampling and stratigraphic studies were completed in southeastern Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in 1990 and 1991 to document the directions and distances that successive ice-flow events have dispersed material and to document regional till geochemical patterns to aid mineral exploration in this heavily drift-covered area. Three major Wisconsinan ice-flow events affected the area: an early eastward flow, followed by a northeastward flow, and finally a southward flow. The shape and magnitude of dispersal trains in the area are the net result of the three ice-flow events, which are variable from north to south. In the north, the northeast ice flow was the dominant erosive and depositional event, producing a large northeast-trending drumlin field. Salmon River porphyry clasts and Pb- and Zn-rich till from the Yava Pb mine were dispersed more than 15 km to the northeast. In the south, eastward ice flow was the dominant erosive and depositional event, producing large east-trending till ridges. Dispersal in this area is difficult to detect because exotic red silty till in the giant till ridges masks underlying mineralized bedrock and dilutes the locally derived glacial debris. Many precious and base metal anomalies and dispersal trains were identified in the regional till samples, several of which are related to unknown mineralized sources.

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