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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The alteration and mineralization of the poplar copper-molybdenum porphyry deposit West-Central British Columbia Mesard, Peter Morris


The Poplar copper-molybdenum porphyry deposit, located 270 km west of Prince George, is centered in a late Upper Cretaceous differentiated calc-alkaline stock, which intruded Lower and Upper Cretaceous sedimentary rocks. The stock is capped by late Upper Cretaceous volcanic flow rocks. The lower Cretaceous Skeena Group consists of intermediate tuff, siltstone, and interbedded sandstone, which steeply dip to the south. This unit is unconformably overlain by a moderately sorted polylithic pebble conglomerate belonging to the Upper Cretaceous Kasalka Group. The Poplar Stock, which hosts mineralization, includes a border phase of hornblende quartz monzodiorite porphyry which grades in to a central biotite quartz monzonite porphyry. The stock is intruded by several post-ore dyke units, which include porphyritic dacite, porphyritic rhyolite, felsite, and andesite. Ootsa Lake porphyritic volcanic flow rocks overly the deposit, and are dacite in composition. Pre-ore, and post-ore rock units have been K-Ar dated, and are within analytical error of each other, having a mean age of 74.8 ±2.6 Ma. The deposit is covered extensively with glacial till and alluvial sediments. Therefore the majority of geologic information was obtained from logging the drill core from 34 diamond drill holes, twelve of which were logged in detail using a computer compatible logging format. Information logged in this manner was used in statistical studies , and for producing computer generated graphic logs and plots of various geologic parameters, along two cross-sections through the deposit. Alteration zoning at the Poplar porphyry consists of a 600 m by 500 m potassic alteration annulus which surrounds a 300 m by 150 m argillic alteration core. These are enclosed by 750 m wide phyllic alteration zone, which is itself bordered by a low intensity propylitic alteration zone. Phyllic alteration is defined by the occurence of sericite, and is the most abundant type of alteration present. Potassic alteration, recognized by the occurence cf secondary K-feldspar and/or secondary biotite, is most closely associated with chalcopyrite and molybdenite. At least two episodes of alteration are recognized at the Poplar porphyry. The first was contemporaneous with mineralization, following intrusion and crystallization of the Poplar Stock. This episode consisted of potassic alteration in the center of the deposit, which surrounded a 'low grade1 core, and graded out to phyllic and propylitic alteration facies at the periphery. The second alteration event took place after the intrusion of the post-ore dykes and consisted mainly of hydrolytic alteration of pre-existing alteration zones which were adjacent to more permeable centers, such as faults, contacts, and highly jointed areas. This alteration event is responsible for the anomalous central argillic zone, and the alteration of dykes, in addition to probably intensifying and widening the phyllic alteration halo surrounding the deposit. Chalcopyrite and molybdenite were deposited in the potassic zone at approximately 375° C and less than 250 bars, with relatively low oxygen, and relatively high sulfer, activities and moderate pH. As the potassic alteration zone was invaded by more acidic solutions feldspars were altered sericite and clay, and chalcopyrite was destroyed to form pyrite and hematite. Copper was removed from the system. Statistical studies include univariant one-way and two-way correlation matrices, and multivariant regression analysis. Statistical correlations generally support empirical correlations made in the field. These include positive correlations between various potassic alteration facies minerals, and these minerals and chalcopyrite and molybdenite. Multivariant regression analysis was used to determine which alteration minerals were best suited for indicating chalcopyrite and molybdenite. These minerals are quartz, biotite, magnetite, sericite, K-feldspar, and pyrite. Large error limits and poor correlation statistics in the results from these studies are attributed to deviations from normal distributions for all minerals. A possible cause of this may have been the multistage alteration events that the deposit has undergone.

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