Abstract

The Mallery Lake area contains precious metal-bearing quartz–chalcedony stockworks that are pristine examples of ancient low-sulfidation epithermal deposits. Fluorite extracted from these epithermal deposits define a Sm–Nd errorchron age of 1434 ± 23 Ma mean square of weighted deviates (MSWD) = 4.8. This date is interpreted to have age significance because (1) a simple linear trend does not exist between the 143Nd/144Nd ratios of the fluorite with respect to their 1/Nd concentrations as would be expected for mixing of two geochemical end members; (2) microthermometric studies indicate that the fluorite analysed in this study has an intimate association with a single high-salinity, calcic brinal fluid; and (3) the age determined from seven fluorite samples extracted from a single out-crop location yielded an identical age result (1434 ± 60 Ma; MSWD = 5.5) compared to the fluorite composite. Rhyodacites of the Pitz Formation and syenites from the Nueltin suite (intrusive equivalent to the rhyodacites) are the youngest volcanic–plutonic rocks that are observed in outcrop in the Mallery Lake area, and they were dated by U–Pb zircon analysis at 1760 ± 43 Ma and 1755.4 ± 1.8 Ma, respectively. The ∼ 320 million year age difference between the epithermal deposits and the hosting rhyodacitic flows suggests that the epithermal stockworks may have formed by a regional hydrothermal event unrelated to this earlier Paleoproterozoic volcanic activity. Uranium deposits in the Thelon and Athabasca basins, to the northwest and south of the Baker Lake Basin, were determined to have similar ore emplacement ages with no evident heat source.

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