Abstract

Aeromagnetic data are used to better understand the geology and mineral resources near the Late Cretaceous Pebble porphyry Cu-Au-Mo deposit in southwestern Alaska. The reduced-to-pole (RTP) transformation of regional-scale aeromagnetic data shows that the Pebble deposit is within a cluster of magnetic anomaly highs. Similar to Pebble, the Iliamna, Kijik, and Neacola porphyry copper occurrences are in magnetic highs that trend northeast along the crustal-scale Lake Clark fault. A high-amplitude, short- to moderate-wavelength anomaly is centered over the Kemuk occurrence, an Alaska-type ultramafic complex. Similar anomalies are found west and north of Kemuk. A moderate-amplitude, moderate-wavelength magnetic low surrounded by a moderate-amplitude, short-wavelength magnetic high is associated with the gold-bearing Shotgun intrusive complex.

The RTP transformation of the district-scale aeromagnetic data acquired over Pebble permits differentiation of a variety of Jurassic to Tertiary magmatic rock suites. Jurassic-Cretaceous basalt and gabbro units and Late Cretaceous biotite pyroxenite and granodiorite rocks produce magnetic highs. Tertiary basalt units also produce magnetic highs, but appear to be volumetrically minor. Eocene monzonite units have associated magnetic lows. The RTP data do not suggest a magnetite-rich hydrothermal system at the Pebble deposit.

The 10-km upward continuation transformation of the regional-scale data shows a linear northeast trend of magnetic anomaly highs. These anomalies are spatially correlated with Late Cretaceous igneous rocks and in the Pebble district are centered over the granodiorite rocks genetically related to porphyry copper systems. The spacing of these anomalies is similar to patterns shown by the numerous porphyry copper deposits in northern Chile. These anomalies are interpreted to reflect a Late Cretaceous magmatic arc that is favorable for additional discoveries of Late Cretaceous porphyry copper systems in southwestern Alaska.

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