Abstract

The Mississippian (Visean) Macumber and Gays River Formations of the Windsor Group in Nova Scotia are host to Pb-Zn-Ba (Cu-Ag) deposits. Transport and deposition of base metals were possible because of an efficient porosity-permeability system developed in both units. Depositional facies is a key parameter controlling the potential openness of carbonate units.The Macumber facies were deposited after the collapse of the Acadian orogen and ensuing tectonically driven sea-level rise. The Macumber Formation is divided into two regional lithosomes: a lower thin unit (<2 m) of fine- and coarse-grained limestones deposited below the fairweather wave base positioned on an outer shelf with local chemosynthetic mounds, and an upper thicker unit (avg 10 m) of planar-bedded micritic limestones, most likely representing upper slope microbial mats interbedded with deep marine sulfates. The permeability system was created by various brecciation events affecting the upper part of the formation.The Gays River Formation, deposited upslope of the Macumber facies, is dominated by various organic mounds with intervening facies. The boundstone facies are indicative of below fairweather wave base deposition, roughly at the limit of the photic zone. Primary growth porosity of the mounds provided the plumbing system later used by mineralizing fluids. These mounds also record the effects of a sea-level rise culminating in regional deposition of deep marine sulfates.Outside the eastern margin of the Laurentia craton, a similar Visean-aged mixed limestone sulfate succession is known from the Franco-Belgian basin in Baltica. Distribution of shelf and slope facies within the Visean mid-European ocean separating Laurentia, Baltica, and Gondwana suggests that restricted oceanic circulation in a rapidly closing sea was instrumental in the local occurrence of a salinity-stratified water mass and, hence, responsible for the presence of below wave base marine limestone and sulfate facies on the Laurentia and Baltica continental margins.

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