Abstract

The Bluebell Pb-Zn deposit is located on the east side of Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia. It is a fracture-controlled replacement deposit hosted in Lower Cambrian marble of the Badshot and Mohican formations. The orebodies trend west-northwest, parallel to a prominent set of fractures that controlled mineralization. These fractures are interpreted to have formed as part of a conjugate set. Contrary to some earlier suggestions, folding played no role in fracture formation. The youngest generation of folds are reinterpreted as having formed through development of shear bands during extension of the layering prior to fracture development. Formation of the fractures also postdated motion on a number of early Tertiary normal faults that are associated with regional extension and alkaline magmatism. West-northwest–trending fractures, which formed as part of a conjugate set, were reactivated and controlled the intrusion of mafic dikes, mineralizing fluids, and minor late faulting. Fracturing, faulting, mafic dike intrusion, and mineralization may be associated with a long-lived basement structure that runs below the area, which could have facilitated the ascent of deep crustal or mantle-derived magma and mineralizing fluids. The results of this study provide a new perspective on exploration strategies for hydrothermal ore deposits in this part of southeastern British Columbia.

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