Abstract

In the northwestern part of the Canadian Shield, fluorapatite and a rare-earth element-bearing hydrated aluminum phosphate–sulphate mineral (APS) occur as cements in continental successions near the base of the Paleoproterozoic Thelon Formation (Thelon Basin) and Hornby Bay Group (Hornby Bay Basin). These minerals occupy interstitial sites, form euhedral crystals, display micro-scale zonation, make up part of an unmetamorphosed paragenetic assemblage, and are distributed in correlative units across thousands of square kilometres, suggesting a diagenetic origin. Stratigraphy, geochronology, and other lines of evidence suggest that the Thelon Formation and Hornby Bay Group containing these phosphatic cements, as well as the Ellice Formation and Athabasca Group, are correlative and may have been originally interconnected. The evidence suggests that the basal Thelon Formation and the Hornby Bay Group underwent similar, and approximately coeval, diagenetic mineral paragenesis. Furthermore, the diagenetic fluids in these different locations must have been remarkably similar, especially those that produced the delicate APS mineral. Compared to phosphatic cements in the Hornby Bay and Thelon basins, unmineralized sandstone in the Athabasca Basin contains “crandallite group” and fluorapatite cements higher in the basin fill sequence (Wolverine Point Formation) in tuffaceous sandstone and as relatively early cement in the paragenetic sequence.

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