Abstract

The Trout Lake deposit (1878 ± 1 Ma) is a rhyolite-hosted, bimodal-mafic, volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit. It is one of the largest VMS deposits in the Flin Flon mining district, containing 21.8 Mt of Cu-Zn rich ore. The deposit underwent greenschist facies metamorphism and polyphase synvolcanic to postvolcanic hydrothermal alteration.

Footwall and hanging-wall lithostratigraphic units of the Trout Lake deposit occur as an upright, steeply NE dipping, homoclinal succession of thrust-repeated volcanic and siliciclastic sedimentary units. The deposit consists of several massive sulfide ore lenses hosted within a felsic volcanic unit that represents a localized felsic eruptive center composed of flows, synvolcanic sills, and volcaniclastic lithofacies with an FIIIb-type tholeiitic to transitional rhyolite composition (Zr = 213–385 ppm; Ybcn = 47–100; La/Ybcn = 0.97–2.33). The felsic unit occurs along strike of an andesitic unit comprising an intercalation of high-MgO andesite (MgO > 5.0 wt %) and Nb-enriched andesite (Nb = 10–13 ppm) flows that are underlain by a footwall basaltic unit composed of flow lithofacies with a low-Ti tholeiitic basaltic composition (TiO2 < 0.48 wt %; Zr = 15–17 ppm; Al2O3/TiO2 = 37–45). Postvolcanic gabbros with back-arc basin basalt composition intrude the volcanic units, which are unconformably covered by a younger argillite unit deposited at ca. <1843 ± 9 Ma. The felsic volcanic and argillite units were repeated and structurally interleaved during west-directed thrusting.

The presence of low-Ti tholeiitic basalts indicates high-temperature melting (1,200°–1,500°C) of strongly depleted refractory mantle sources (Nb/Yb <1.45). In contrast, high-MgO and Nb-enriched andesites suggest partial melting of enriched mantle sources (Nb/Yb >1.45) variably affected by slab-derived hydrous melts. These petrologic characteristics suggest a geochemically heterogeneous mantle wedge that underwent metasomatism by slab-derived components. In addition, zircon saturation thermometry indicates that FIIIb-type rhyolites formed at temperatures >900°C during partial melting of mafic lower crust. Collectively, the occurrence of high-temperature melts indicates that the Trout Lake VMS deposit formed in a hot, intraoceanic, extensional-arc geodynamic setting. Intra-arc rifting, asthenospheric upwelling, and subduction of young and hot oceanic crust are mechanisms that explain the high-temperature magmatism and are features consistent with the formation of the massive sulfide ore lenses. The back-arc basalt geochemical signatures of the postvolcanic gabbros suggest that the tectonic environment of the Trout Lake area evolved from an intra-arc rift, during the deposition of the ore lenses, to an incipient back-arc basin during the intrusion of the gabbros.

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