Abstract

The Beardmore–Geraldton belt consists of steeply dipping, intercalated panels of metavolcanic and metasedimentary rocks along the southern margin of the granite–greenstone Wabigoon subprovince in the Archean Superior Province, Ontario. It is an important past-producing gold belt that includes classic epigenetic iron-formation-hosted deposits near Geraldton and turbidite-hosted deposits, north of Beardmore. The Brookbank gold prospect belongs to a third group of related gold deposits that formed along dextral shear zones localized at contacts between panels of metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks. The Brookbank prospect occurs along a steeply dipping shear zone at the contact between footwall polymictic conglomerate and hanging-wall calc-alkaline arc basalt. Early during shearing the basalt acted as a structural and chemical trap that localized brittle deformation, veining, and gold deposition, ankerite–sericite–chlorite–epidote–pyrite alteration, and the replacement of metamorphic magnetite and ilmenite by gold-bearing pyrite. This produced a low grade (≤5 g/t Au) ankerite-rich alteration zone that extends up to 20 m into the hanging-wall basalt. Later during shearing, gold was deposited within higher grade (≤20 g/t Au) quartz–orthoclase–pyrite alteration zones superimposed on the wider ankerite-rich alteration zone. Auriferous quartz–carbonate veins oriented clockwise and counter-clockwise to the shear zone walls are folded and boudinaged, respectively, consistent with dextral slip along the shear zone. A key finding of the study is that different groups of gold deposits in the belt, including epigenetic iron formation gold deposits near Geraldton, formed during post-2690 Ma regional dextral transpression across the belt.

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