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Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 211–232 | Cite as

Petrography, fluid inclusion analysis, and geochronology of the End uranium deposit, Kiggavik, Nunavut, Canada

  • Guoxiang ChiEmail author
  • Taylor Haid
  • David Quirt
  • Mostafa Fayek
  • Nigel Blamey
  • Haixia Chu
Article

Abstract

The End deposit is one of several uranium deposits in the Kiggavik area near the Proterozoic Thelon Basin, which is geologically similar to the Athabasca Basin known for its unconformity-related uranium deposits. The mineralization occurs as uraninite and coffinite in quartz veins and wall rocks (psammopelitic gneisses) in the sub-Thelon basement and is associated with clay- and hematite-altered fault zones. Fluid inclusions were studied in quartz cementing unmineralized breccias formed before mineralization (Q2), quartz veins that were formed before mineralization but spatially associated with uranite (Q4), and calcite veins that were formed after mineralization. Four types of fluid inclusions were recognized, namely liquid-dominated biphase (liquid + vapor), vapor-dominated biphase (vapor + liquid), monophase (vapor-only), and triphase (liquid + vapor + halite) inclusions. The first three types were found in Q2, whereas all four types were found in Q4 and calcite. The coexistence of these different types of inclusions within individual fluid inclusion assemblages is interpreted to indicate fluid immiscibility and heterogeneous trapping. Based on microthermometry, the fluids associated with Q2 are characterized by low salinities (0.4 to 6.6 wt%) and moderate temperatures from 148 to 261 °C, and the fluids associated with calcite show high salinities (26.8 to 29.3 wt%) and relatively low temperatures from 146 to 205 °C, whereas the fluids associated with Q4 have a wide range of salinities from 0.7 to 38.8 wt% and temperatures from 80 to 332 °C. Microthermometric and cryogenic Raman spectroscopic studies indicate that the high-salinity fluids in Q4 and calcite belong to the H2O-NaCl-CaCl2 ± MgCl2 system, with some dominated by NaCl and others by CaCl2. The fluid inclusions in Q2 are interpreted to be unrelated to mineralization, whereas those in Q4 and calcite reflect the mineralizing fluids. The fluid inclusion data are consistent with a genetic link of mineralization with basinal brines derived from the Thelon Basin. However, unlike the conventional deep-burial (>5 km) diagenetic-hydrothermal model proposed for the unconformity-related uranium deposits, the uranium mineralization in the End deposit is inferred to have formed in a shallow environment (probably <2 km), based on fluid immiscibility and low fluid pressures obtained in this study. The U-Pb age of uraninite (1295 ± 12 Ma) is interpreted to reflect isotopic resetting after the primary mineralization.

Keywords

Fluid inclusions Raman spectroscopy Geochronology Immiscibility Basinal brine Unconformity Uranium deposits Kiggavik Thelon Basin 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Funding for this project was provided in part by AREVA Resources Canada, a NSERC-Discovery Grant to Chi, and NRCan GEM 2 grant to Fayek. Special thanks go to Riley Hutchinson, Amber Doney, Ryan Zerff, Dan Hrabok, Antonio Benedicto, and John Robbins for their assistance in sample collection and helpful discussions on regional and local geology of the study area, and Ryan Sharpe for his assistance in obtaining the SIMS data. The detailed reviews by Antonin Richard, an anonymous reviewer, and Associate Editor Rolf Romer, and editorial suggestions by Editor Georges Beaudoin, have greatly improved the quality of this paper.

Supplementary material

126_2016_657_MOESM1_ESM.docx (51 kb)
ESM 1 Microthermometric results of fluid inclusions from the End uranium deposit* (DOCX 50 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guoxiang Chi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Taylor Haid
    • 1
  • David Quirt
    • 2
  • Mostafa Fayek
    • 3
  • Nigel Blamey
    • 4
  • Haixia Chu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeologyUniversity of ReginaReginaCanada
  2. 2.Areva Resources CanadaSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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