The 2704 to 2695 Ma Blake River Group in the southern Abitibi greenstone belt comprises a well preserved submarine volcanic sequence that hosts a large number of VMS and important Au-rich VMS deposits, including the world-class Horne and LaRonde-Penna deposits. Establishing precise chronostratigraphic control on the VMS deposits within the Blake River Group is critical because numerous distinct events took place within a period of 9 m.y. Nineteen new high-precision U-Pb ages temporally constrain the host rocks of many poly-metallic VMS deposits and associated synvolcanic intrusions, demonstrating that these VMS deposits formed throughout the protracted volcanic evolution of the entire group.
Ages on host rocks of the Horne (2702.2 ± 0.9 Ma), Quemont (2702.0 ± 0.8 Ma), and Fabie (2701.9 ± 0.9 Ma) deposits reveal that they are among the oldest VMS deposits in the Blake River Group. The giant Horne Au-rich VMS deposit had already formed when the Cu-Zn deposits of the Noranda mine sequence, including Millenbach and Amulet, were generated at ~2698 Ma and is thus unrelated, consistent with its different volcanological setting and metal content. Large Au-rich VMS deposits of the Bousquet Formation, including LaRonde Penna and Bousquet 2-Dumagami, were formed at 2698 to 2697 Ma and are distinctly younger than the Horne and Quemont deposits. There were, therefore, two major time-stratigraphic intervals within the Blake River Group that were favorable for the formation of Au-rich VMS deposits. Rhyolite hosting the large Bouchard-Hébert VMS deposits yielded an age of 2695.8 ± 0.8 Ma.
Important mineralizing events in the Blake River Group occur at ca. 2-m.y. intervals apart and are associated with major magmatic episodes. Recognition of specific time-stratigraphic intervals for different styles of mineralization and geologic settings is essential to improve exploration models within the Blake River Group and for similar volcanic assemblages elsewhere in the Archean.