UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Petrology and tectonic setting of felsic and mafic volcanic and intrusive rocks in the Finlayson Lake volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) district, Yukon, Canada : a record of mid-Paleozoic arc and back-arc magmatism and metallogeny Piercey, Stephen John

Abstract

The Yukon-Tanana Terrane (YTT) in the Finlayson Lake region (FLR), southeastern Yukon, Canada is host to five volcanic-hosted massive sulphide (VHMS) deposits (total -34 Mt) that have been discovered since the mid-1990's. In this thesis, field, lithogeochemical and Nd isotopic data are presented for felsic and mafic igneous rocks in the FLR to understand the tectonic setting, style of magmatism, and their relationships to VHMS mineralization. All rocks in the FLR were built upon a continental (or continent-derived) substrate of pre-Mississippian (>365 Ma) age. The Fire Lake unit (FLU) reflects Devonian-Mississippian (-365-360 Ma) arc and back-arc magmatism built upon a composite basement of oceanic and continental (or continent-derived) crust above an east-dipping subduction zone. Models proposed herein for the magmatic and tectonic evolution of FLU include: 1) arc magmatism punctuated by back-arc basin generation; 2) ridge propagation into an evolving arc with subsequent evolution to back-arc magmatism; and/or 3) ridge-subduction (slab-window) with eventual back-arc basin magmatism. The Kudz Ze Kayah (KZK) unit overlies the FLU and consists predominantly of crustally derived Devonian-Mississippian (-360-356 Ma) felsic volcanic and high-level subvolcanic rocks and variably carbonaceous sedimentary rocks; the latter are crosscut and overlain by alkalic mafic rocks. The high field strength element (HFSE)-enriched (A-type) felsic rocks and alkalic mafic rocks in the KZK unit are inferred to represent magmatism within an ensialic back-arc basin upon evolved crust. The Wolverine succession (WS) unconformably overlies the KZK unit and consists of a lower succession of felsic volcanic and subvolcanic rocks with carbonaceous sedimentary rocks; the upper portion of the succession, above the Wolverine VHMS deposit, consists predominantly of aphyric rhyolitic rocks that are overlain basalt flows. Felsic rocks ofthe WS are broadly similar to those in the KZK unit and represent ensialic back-arc basin magmatism. However, the succession is younger (-356-346 Ma), and post-dates a period of uplift, deformation, and erosion prior to commencement of back-arc magmatism. Back-arc spreading eventually evolved to true seafloor spreading within the WS. Massive sulphide deposits in the FLR are preferentially associated with rocks indicative of high temperature magmatism (e.g., boninites, A-type felsic rocks) and extensional tectonic activity (e.g., back-arc rifting and spreading).

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