Abstract

The Mesoproterozoic Purcell Basin in Canada contains three different types of veins: (1) type 1 Pb-Zn-Ag veins are composed of Fe-rich sphalerite, pyrrhotite, galena, freibergite, and pyrite with minor quartz gangue; (2) type 2 Pb-Ag-Cu-Au veins are characterized by galena, pyrite, freibergite, and gold in a quartz gangue; and (3) type 3 Ag-Pb-Zn vein and replacement deposits contain Fe-poor sphalerite, galena, pyrite, and freibergite in a quartz-dolomite gangue that locally replaces host dolostone. The sulfur isotope composition of type 1, 2, and 3 vein and replacement deposits closely reflects their respective stratigraphic positions. Type 1 and 2 veins hosted in lower Purcell sedimentary rocks have light sulfur isotope compositions (−4.8 to +2.5‰) similar to diagenic pyrite disseminated in clastic sedimentary host rocks. Type 3 veins and the replacement deposits hosted in upper Purcell Supergroup rocks have heavy sulfur isotope compositions (8.3–17.2‰) indicative of thermo-chemical reduction of marine sulfate in carbonate host rocks. Quartz from type 1 Pb-Zn-Ag veins has δ18OSMOW values ranging from 7 to 17‰, whereas type 2 and 3 vein and replacement deposits have δ18O values ranging from 9 to 20‰. The range of δ18O values for type 1, 2, and 3 veins is the result of mixing of metamorphic fluids with a δ18O value higher than 11.5‰ and an upper crustal fluid with a δ18O lower than 1.2‰, in equilibrium with the host rocks during Proterozoic (type 1) and Mesozoic-Cenozoic (type 2 and 3) hydrothermal events. Galena and freibergite lead isotope compositions plot in two groups, consistent with previous studies. Type 1 Pb-Zn-Ag veins have a nonradiogenic lead signature (206Pb/204Pb: 16.322–16.435) and are considered Proterozoic in age. Type 2 Pb-Ag-Au-Cu veins and type 3 Ag-Pb-Zn vein and replacement deposits have a radiogenic lead signature (206Pb/204Pb: 17.842–19.347) and are interpreted to be Mesozoic-Cenozoic in age. Hydrothermal sericite from the type 3 Ptarmigan replacement deposit yields a 40Ar/39Ar age of 133.1 ± 0.7 Ma, indicating a Cretaceous age for type 3 deposits. Type 1 veins are interpreted to be the result of hydrothermal fluids generated during the Proterozoic East Kootenay Orogeny, whereas type 2 and 3 veins and replacement deposits are interpreted to be the result of Late Cretaceous-Paleocene tectonism.

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