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Temporal, geochemical, isotopic, and metallogenic studies of mid-cretaceous magmatism in the Tintina Gold Province, southeastern Yukon and southwestern Northwest Territories, Canada Heffernan, R. Scott

Abstract

The Tintina Gold Province (TGP) of east-central Alaska, Yukon Territory, and the southwestern Northwest Territories comprises a very large number of gold (± base metal) deposits and occurrences that are spatially and temporally related to mid-Cretaceous intrusions. Intrusions in the eastern Selwyn Basin, south of MacMillan Pass and east of Frances Lakes, include some of the largest bodies within the TGP and are the focus of this study. Magmatic rocks of the TGP have been divided into individual plutonic suites on the basis of crystallization age, lithology, mineralogy, geochemistry, and spatial distribution, as well as metallogenic association. From -111 Ma to -99 Ma, magmatism is thought to reflect the formation of a southwest-facing continental magmatic arc, represented by the Whitehorse - Coffee Creek suite, and that the coeval Anvil and Cassiar suites formed in a back-arc environment. The younger Tay River, Tungsten and Tombstone plutonic suites successively stepped inboard between 99 Ma to 89 Ma. However, the processes leading to such volumetrically significant magmatism remains poorly understood. Intrusions within the study area range in composition from granite to granodiorite with subordinate diorite and are characteristically calc-alkaline, peraluminous to weakly metaluminous, relatively reduced, and typically contain only biotite as the dominant mafic phase. Sixteen new U-Pb ages, ranging from ~107 Ma to -91 Ma, constrain a temporal framework for plutonism across the region that is consistent with the progressively "inboard younging" pattern of magmatism observed in the northern and western portions of the TGP. - Geochemical (major, trace and rare earth elements) characteristics, together with geochronology indicate that the Anvil, Tay River, Tungsten, and Tombstone plutonic suites as originally defined farther to the northwest do continue southeastward and into the southwestern Northwest Territories. Initial Sr ratios and epsilon Nd values (n=20; age corrected for T = 100 Ma) range from 0.70853 to 0.72243 and -6.0 to -17.5, respectively. Lead isotopic compositions (n=20) show relatively narrow ranges for 2 0 6Pb/2 0 4Pb, 2 0 7Pb/2 0 4Pb, and 2 0 8Pb/2 0 4Pb ratios of 19.397 to 19.772, 15.697 to 15.829, and 39.461 to 39.883, respectively. All radiogenic isotope systematics indicate that these magmas have interacted extensively with or were derived entirely from continental crust. Several spatial and temporal trends are apparent in the data including an increase in overall REE abundance and sNd values, and a decrease in Srjnit ai, values with decreasing age (broadly moving from west to east). These trends may reflect differences in the nature of the underlying basement, potential magma source(s), and/or the melt producing processes that were involved. Lead isotope compositions of feldspars from various intrusions and sulphides from associated precious- and base metal deposits and occurrences define narrow and overlapping ranges indicating that the metals in many of the mineral deposits (and prospects) in the region are mostly derived from the mid-Cretaceous TGP intrusions.

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