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Recent geologic mapping has identified areas of extrusive basalts of the Middle to Late Triassic Nikolai Greenstone within the Wrangellia terrane that extend at least 80 km southwest of their previously known extent. Abundant dolerite sills of similar composition intrude Paleozoic and Mesozoic stratigraphy below the Nikolai throughout the central Talkeetna Mountains. The Talkeetna Mountains, therefore, have newly identified potential for copper, nickel, and platinum-group elements (PGEs) as disseminated, net-textured, or massive magmatic sulfide deposits hosted in mafic and ultramafic sill-form complexes related to emplacement of the Nikolai. Because of their potential high grades, similar magmatic sulfide targets have been the focus of increasing mineral exploration activity over the last decade in the Amphitheater Mountains and central Alaska Range, 100–200 km to the northeast. The Nikolai Greenstone, associated intrusions, and their metamorphosed equivalents also have potential to host stratabound disseminated “basaltic copper” deposits. Sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks overlying the Nikolai have the potential to host stratabound, disseminated, or massive “reduced-facies” type Cu-Ag deposits.

Ultramafic rocks have been identified only in the extreme northeastern Talkeetna Mountains to date. However, coincident gravity and magnetic highs along the leading (northwestern) edge of and within Wrangellia in the Talkeetna and Clearwater Mountains suggest several areas that are highly prospective for ultramafic rocks related to extrusion of Nikolai lavas. In particular, the distribution, geometry, and composition of sills within the pre-Nikolai stratigraphy and the structural and tectonic controls on intrusive versus extrusive rock distribution deserve serious examination.

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