The type examples for the class of deposits termed intrusion-related gold systems occur in the Tombstone-Tungsten belt of Alaska and Yukon, on the eastern side of the Tintina gold province. In this part of the northern Cordillera, extensive mid-Cretaceous postcollisional plutonism took place following the accretion of exotic terranes to the continental margin. The most cratonward of the resulting plutonic belts comprises small isolated intrusive centers, with compositionally diverse, dominantly potassic rocks, as exemplified at Scheelite Dome, located in central Yukon. Similar to other spatially and temporally related intrusive centers, the Scheelite Dome intrusions are genetically associated with intrusion-related gold deposits.
Intrusions have exceptional variability, ranging from volumetrically dominant clinopyroxene-bearing monzogranites, to calc-alkaline minettes and spessartites, with an intervening range of intermediate to felsic stocks and dikes, including leucominettes, quartz monzonites, quartz monzodiorites, and granodiorites. All rock types are potassic, are strongly enriched in LILEs and LREEs, and feature high LILE/HFSE ratios. Clinopyroxene is common to all rock types and ranges from salite in felsic rocks to high Mg augite and Cr-rich diopside in lamprophyres. Less common, calcic amphibole ranges from actinolitic hornblende to pargasite. The rocks have strongly radiogenic Sr (initial 87Sr/86Sr from 0.711-0.714) and Pb isotope ratios (206Pb/204Pb from 19.2-19.7), and negative initial ɛNd values (−8.06 to −11.26).
Whole-rock major and trace element, radiogenic isotope, and mineralogical data suggest that the felsic to intermediate rocks were derived from mafic potassic magmas sourced from the lithospheric mantle via fractional crystallization and minor assimilation of metasedimentary crust. Mainly unmodified minettes and spessartites represent the most primitive and final phases emplaced. Metasomatic enrichments in the underlying lithospheric mantle are attributes of the ancient North American cratonic margin that appear to be essential prerequisites to this style of postcollisional magmatism and associated gold-rich fluid exsolution. This type of magmatic hydrothermal activity occurs in a very specific tectonic setting that typically sets intrusion-related gold deposits apart from orogenic gold deposits, which are synorogenic in timing and have no consistent direct relationship to such diverse and contemporaneous lithospheric mantle-derived magmas, although they too are commonly sited adjacent to lithospheric boundaries.