The Powderhouse formation of the Paleoproterozoic Snow Lake arc assemblage comprises the stratigraphic footwall to six volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits at Snow Lake, Manitoba, Canada. It is interpreted to be a product of voluminous pyroclastic eruptions and concomitant subsidence followed by a period of relative volcanic quiescence that was dominated by suspension sedimentation, the reworking of previously deposited pyroclastic units by debris flows and bottom currents, and localized emplacement of rhyolite domes. The rhyolite domes are spatially associated with the Chisel, Chisel North, Lost, Ghost, Photo, and Lalor deposits. The Chisel, Lalor, and Lost members compose the Powderhouse formation and are subdivided into 13 lithologically distinct lithofacies, which allows, for the first time, correlation of stratigraphy between the South Chisel basin and Lalor areas, critical in predicting the location of largely stratiform VMS deposits. The Chisel and Lalor members contain lithofacies and bedforms that are characteristic of emplacement by subaqueous pyroclastic mass flows and concomitant subsidence. The Chisel member also contains coarse volcaniclastic breccias emplaced by mass debris flows derived from movement along fault scarps following early pyroclastic eruptions, and during continued subsidence. The Lost member consists of lithofacies deposited by mass flows generated from faults scraps during continued subsidence, but also contains lithofacies reworked by bottom currents, those deposited by suspension sedimentation, and, locally, coherent rhyolite. The Lost member represents a time stratigraphic interval, the “ore interval”, that marks contemporaneous rhyolite dome emplacement, VMS formation, and a hiatus in explosive volcanism.

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