Abstract

Pertinent physical properties of the upper Keweenawan rocks can be measured or inferred within a sufficiently narrow range to make the quantitative evaluation of various paleohydrologic models for the origin of the White Pine copper deposit feasible. The approach is illustrated here by calculations for models that involve lateral migration of fluids through the subjacent Copper Harbor Conglomerate to the site of the deposit and stripping of copper from these solutions where they percolated upward through the Nonesuch Shale. The calculations reveal limitations to theories of origin that would not be evident from purely qualitative consideration; some of these limitations could be useful to exploration. For example, if the water was yielded by compaction of the Copper Harbor Conglomerate and contained 50 ppm Cu, there must have been significant convergence of solution paths toward White Pine. Surface water entering the Copper Harbor Conglomerate on the north limb of the Lake Superior syncline is an adequate source if it could be shown that the point of entry was once significantly higher in altitude than the water table at White Pine; this model implies a major copper deposit at great depth north of the axis of the syncline. Ground water entering the Nonesuch Shale up dip from White Pine is not a possible source of mineralizing solutions.

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