Abstract

Many previously published studies of the behaviour of Pt and Pd in till and soils have been done in areas of complex stratigraphy or very thin overburden cover, making the interpretation of soil results difficult because of the many variables associated with these settings. At the Lac des Iles mine site in northwestern Ontario, there are excellent exposures of the overburden in a series of exploration trenches. Glacial dispersal trains can be observed in till (C horizon) geochemistry (e.g., Ni, Cr, Cu, and Co). Regional geochemical dispersal trains of elements, such as Ni, Cr, Mg, and Co associated with the North Lac des Iles intrusion, can be detected for about 4 km beyond the western margin of the Mine Block intrusion. Entire dispersal trains range from 5 to 7 km in length and about 1 to 2 km in width. The dispersal of North Lac des Iles intrusion rock fragments tends to mask the response of the Mine Block intrusion. Dispersal trains of Pt and Pd are not well defined and tend to be very short, <1 km in length, due to the initial low concentrations of these elements in C-horizon till samples from the Lac Des Iles area. An exception to this is the Pd dispersal train originating from the high-grade zone that is up to 3 km long. Pd, Pt, Ni, and Cu appear to be moving both within and out of the soil system downslope into surface and shallow groundwater. It is suggested that these elements, to varying degrees, are moving in solution. Airborne contamination from mine operations of the humus has adversely affected the ability to determine the effectiveness of humus sampling for mineral exploration at Lac des Iles. The airborne contamination likely influences the geochemical results from surface water, shallow groundwater, and near-surface organic bog samples, particularly for the elements Pd and Pt.

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