Mid-Cretaceous magmatic evolution and intrusion-related metallogeny of the Tintina Gold Province, Yukon and Alaska

Craig Hart

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract] The Tintina Gold Province (TGP) comprises numerous (<15) gold belts and districts throughout interior Alaska and Yukon that are associated with Cretaceous plutonic rocks. With a gold endowment of ∼70Moz, most districts are defined by their placer gold contributions, which comprise greater than 30 Moz, but four districts have experience significant increases in gold exploration with notable discoveries at Fort Knox (5.4 Moz), Donlin Creek (12.3 Moz), Pogo (5.8 Moz), True North (0.79 Moz), and Brewery Creek (0.85 Moz). All significant TGP gold deposits are spatially and temporally related to reduced (ilmenite-series) and radiogenic Cretaceous intrusive rocks that intrude (meta-) sedimentary strata. The similar characteristics that these deposits share are the foundation for the development of a reduced intrusion-related gold deposit model. Associated gold deposits have a wide variety of geological and geochemical features and are categorized as intrusion-centered (includes intrusion-hosted, skarns and replacements), shear-related, and epizonal. The TGP is characterized by vast, remote under-explored areas, unglaciated regions with variable oxidation depths and discontinuous permafrost, which, in combination with a still-evolving geological model, create significant exploration challenges. Twenty-five Early and mid-Cretaceous (145-90 Ma) plutonic suites and belts are defined across Alaska and Yukon on the basis of lithological, geochemical, isotopic, and geochronometric similarities. These features, when combined with aeromagnetic characteristics, magnetic susceptibility measurements, and whole-rock ferric:ferrous ratios define the distribution of magnetite- and ilmenite-series plutonic belts. Magnetite-series plutonic belts are dominantly associated with the older parts of the plutonic episode and comprise subduction-generated metaluminous plutons that are distributed preferentially in the more seaward localities dominated by primitive tectonic elements. Ilmenite-series plutonic belts comprise slightly-younger, slightly-peraluminous plutons in more landward localities in pericratonic to continental margin settings. They were likely initiated in response to crustal thickening following terrane collision. The youngest plutonic belt forms a small, but significant, magnetite-series belt in the farthest inboard position, associated with alkalic plutons that were emplaced during weak extension. Intrusion-related metallogenic provinces with distinctive metal associations are distributed, largely in accord with classical redox-sensitive granite-series. Copper, Au and Fe mineralisation are associated with magnetite-series plutons and tungsten mineralisation associated with ilmenite-series plutons. However, there are some notable deviations from expected associations, as intrusion-related Ag-Pb-Zn deposits are few, and significant tin mineralisation is rare. Most significantly, many gold deposits and occurrences are associated with ilmenite-series plutons which form the basis for the reduced intrusion-related gold deposit model
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2004

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