The Great Bear magmatic zone, located in Wopmay orogen, is a 1.875–1.84 Ga belt, 450 km long by 100 km wide of volcanic and allied plutonic rocks interpreted as a Paleoproterozoic magmatic arc. The belt, which contains economically important mineralization, was folded and subsequently cut by a swarm of northeast-striking transcurrent faults, which are part of a regional conjugate fault system interpreted to result from terminal collision of the Nahanni – Fort Simpson terrane. Fault reconstructions based on the interpretation of aeromagnetic data and geological maps provide first-order models of deformation mechanisms associated with, and the configuration of the Great Bear magmatic zone prior to, its dissection by northeast-striking transcurrent faults. The models show that vertical axis block rotation (plane strain) of ∼4.5° can explain fault offsets in the south, but that greater rotation is required to explain many of the displacements in the north. However, offsets on transcurrent faults that border the Camsell River district are greater than can be explained by vertical axis block rotation model alone and may include a component of Mesoproterozoic contractional deformation associated with the Racklan–Forward orogeny. Following reconstruction, iron oxide alkali alteration and associated mineralization, which pre-date transcurrent faulting, form a pair of northerly trending zones on the east and west margins of the belt. We suggest that these zones, whose exposure is related to broad synclinal folding of some of the oldest rocks in the Great Bear magmatic zone, are where iron oxide copper–gold (IOCG)-targeted exploration efforts should be focused on these areas in both outcrop and subcrop.

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