The Nipigon Embayment is underlain by Archean rocks of the English River, Wabigoon, and Quetico subprovinces, and intruded along the west side by late- to post-tectonic mafic to ultramafic intrusions. The early Mesoproterozoic ultramafic to felsic Badwater intrusion and felsic English Bay Complex are located in the northwest corner of the Nipigon Embayment. Three mafic to ultramafic intrusions, the Disraeli, Seagull, and Hele intrusions, are located south of Lake Nipigon, and the Kitto intrusion is located east of the lake. A number of mafic to ultramafic bodies (Jackfish (Island), Shillabeer, Kama Hill, Nipigon Bay) have only limited outcrops. The gabbroic Nipigon diabase sills intrude all other rocks in the Nipigon Embayment and generally have a consistent mineralogy and geochemistry, except for the Inspiration sill(s) and the McIntyre Sill. Geological and geophysical data suggest emplacement of the ultramafic intrusions by mechanisms similar to those controlling emplacement of the saucer-shaped diabase sills. These mechanisms are partially dependent on a series of pre-existing north-, northwest-, and northeast-trending faults formed prior to Keweenawan magmatism. The presence of sills, rather than dykes, indicates that the Nipigon Embayment was not extensional during the Keweenawan Midcontinent Rift, suggesting that the Nipigon Embayment is not a classic failed arm.

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