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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Geology and genesis of the Dolly Varden silver camp, Alice Arm area, northwestern British Columbia Devlin, Barry David


The Dolly Varden camp, Alice Arm area, northwestern British Columbia, is characterized by stratiform and volcanogenic silver-lead-zinc-barite deposits in Early to Middle Jurassic calc-alkaline volcanic rocks of the Hazelton Group. These deposits, containing exceptional silver and significant base metal values, are in andesitic tuffaceous rocks, and occur typically as layers of quartz, carbonate, barite and jasper, with lesser amounts of pyrite, sphalerite and galena, and sparse chalcopyrite. Production from three deposits, the Dolly Varden, Northstar and Torbrit mines, totaled 1,284,902 tonnes of ore that averaged 484g silver per tonne, 0.38 percent lead and 0.02 percent zinc. The Hazelton Group is a thick, widespread assemblage of basaltic to rhyolitic volcanic flow rocks, their tuffaceous equivalents, and derived sedimentary rocks. Dolly Varden camp is underlain by more than 3,000m of Hazelton Group rocks comprised of one major volcanic and one major sedimentary formation. Volcanic rocks underlie sedimentary rocks and have been subdivided into footwall and hangingwall units based on stratigraphic position relative to the mineralized stratiform horizon. Footwall volcanic rocks consist of green ± maroon basaltic-andesite tuff, green ± maroon porphyritic andesite and green andesite shard tuff. Stratiform mineralization rests conformably upon the underlying green andesite shard tuff. Hangingwall volcanic rocks above the stratiform layer consist of pale grey basaltic-andesite ash tuff, maroon basaltic-andesite ash-lapilli tuff, grey-green porphyritic andesite, and pale green andesite ash tuff. Hangingwall volcanics are unconformably capped by sedimentary rocks consisting of maroon siltstone, calcareous and fossiliferous wacke, and black siltstone and shale; black siltstone and shale form the youngest rock unit of the Hazelton Group in the Dolly Varden area. Basalt and lamprophyre dykes intrude all rocks of the Hazelton Group. The rocks of the Hazelton group exposed in the Dolly Varden camp are folded into a series of anticlines and synclines with gentle, northwestern plunges. Two major sets of nearly vertical block faults cut all rock units; earlier faults trend northwest and younger faults trend north-northeast. Geological mapping, combined with petrologic, petrographic and isotopic data, indicate that the stratiform deposits probably formed as submarine exhalative deposits associated with andesitic volcanism of the Hazelton Group during the Early to Middle Jurassic. Evidence for a volcanogenic origin is the conformity of layered mineralization with stratigraphy, lateral and vertical mineral zonation patterns, consistent hangingwall versus footwall contact relationships, fragments of stratiform ore within tuffaceous volcanic rocks of the hangingwall, consistent differences in the stable isotopic compositions between the sulfides versus barite, quartz and carbonate gangue, and the Jurassic "fingerprint" for the lead-bearing deposits of the Dolly Varden camp. The Dolly Varden deposits display criteria for classification of a new, previously unrecognized, stratiform and volcanogenic, deposit type, named here, the "Dolly Varden type", and is characterized by silver-rich, low sulfide and high oxide stratiform mineralization within andesitic volcanic rocks.

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