Abstract

Groundwaters from diamondiferous kimberlite pipes in the Kirkland Lake and Lake Timiskaming regions display unusual geochemical characteristics and signatures compared with groundwaters from the surrounding host rock. Reaction modelling was used to better constrain water/rock ratios, alteration mineralogy and groundwater geochemistry. A soil-zone Ca-HCO3 water from glacial till was reacted, using a reaction-modelling program, with three different suites of minerals: a kimberlite suite, a felsic intrusive suite and a mafic intrusive suite. Decreasing pH and alkalinity with increasing water/rock ratios in model reactions with the kimberlite suite suggest that sampled groundwaters are from both the hypabyssal facies (high pH and alkalinity; low water/rock ratios) and the diatreme facies (low pH and alkalinity; high water/rock ratios). Geochemical concentrations of sampled groundwaters from kimberlites were compared to modelled waters; results indicate that these waters are different from those flowing through local felsic or mafic intrusive rocks. The kimberlitic groundwaters, and modelled waters, contain low concentrations of Mg and Fe, high concentrations of K and Ca, have elevated pH (up to 12.45), and are defined as a Ca-OH water for the A4 and B30 kimberlites. In contrast, the C14, Diamond Lake and 95-2 kimberlites contain groundwaters that have higher Mg and Fe, lower Ca and K concentrations, and relatively low pH (8.5–10). The reaction model suggests that different minerals precipitate where the water interacts with different kimberlite facies and/or where a different water/rock ratio exists. More hydroxide phases form where pH and hydroxide alkalinity are high. Where kimberlite waters interact with host-rock waters, minerals not likely to be found otherwise, such as magnesite, brucite and magnetite, may be detected along fractures, or near seeps or springs where groundwater comes to surface. Exploration for kimberlites can benefit from the use of groundwater. Groundwater interaction with kimberlitic rocks produces characteristic aqueous geochemical anomalies due to low-temperature serpentinization reactions. The identification of geochemical anomalies in the groundwaters down-flow of a kimberlite and the unusual mineral assemblages that may precipitate from these groundwaters may aid in the location of undiscovered kimberlites.

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