Abstract

A complex history of volcano-sedimentary deposition, polyphase strain, multiple intrusive events, and various stages of porphyroblastesis is indicated for the Hemlo gold deposit area within the Hemlo greenstone belt. Structural elements can be assigned to at least six stages of development (D1–D6). D1 generated small-scale folds and low-angle faults (thrusts?) with no planar fabric, except within strain aureoles around the earliest intrusions. D2 was a progressive event resulting from northeast-directed compression, which generated regional, predominantly S-shaped folds (early D2); penetrative planar and linear fabrics, overturned stratigraphy, and formation of an inflection in the strike of the greenstone belt (mid-D2); and development of high-strain zones with dominant sinistral and local dextral shear sense (late D2). D3 was a distinctly separate progressive event resulting from northwest-directed transpression, which generated variably penetrative east- to northeast-striking foliation (S3), ductile dextral shear fabrics, and small-scale Z-shaped folds (early D3), followed by brittle–ductile to brittle development of cataclasite and pseudotachylite in layer-parallel zones (late D3). D4 resulted in contractional kinks and brittle fractures, locally in conjugate sets. D5 and D6 are represented by brittle to brittle–ductile faults, which overprint Paleoproterozoic and Mesoproterozoic dikes, respectively. Four granitoid magmatic events span the interval 2720–2677 Ma, with emplacement mainly during D2, between ca. 2690 and ca. 2684 Ma. A protracted period of regional medium-grade metamorphism likely spanned the D2–D3 stages. The Hemlo gold deposit was emplaced during mid-D2 and was largely controlled by D2 structural elements and competency contrast between rock units.

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