Mineralium Deposita

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 489–512 | Cite as

The Key Tuffite, Matagami Camp, Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Canada: petrogenesis and implications for VMS formation and exploration

Article

Abstract

The Key Tuffite is a stratigraphic marker unit for most of the zinc-rich volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits of the Matagami Camp in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. This 2- to 6-m-thick unit was previously interpreted as a mixture of ash fall (andesitic to rhyolitic tuffaceous components) and volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS)-related chemical seafloor precipitate (exhalative component). Previous attempts to develop geochemical exploration vectoring tools using metal content within the Key Tuffite were mostly inconclusive due to the complex nature of the Key Tuffite unit and a poor understanding of its composition, origin and relationship with the VMS-forming hydrothermal systems. Detailed mapping and thorough lithogeochemistry of the Key Tuffite in the vicinity of the Perseverance and Bracemac-McLeod deposits indicate that the Key Tuffite is a homogeneous calc-alkaline, andesitic tuff that was deposited before the VMS deposits were formed. The unit is mostly devoid of exhalative component, but it is strongly hydrothermally altered close to orebodies. This is characterized by a strong proximal chloritization and a distal sericitization, which grades laterally into the unaltered Key Tuffite. Neither the Key Tuffite nor the ore was formed by seafloor exhalative processes for the two studied deposits. This probably explains why previously proposed exploration models based on metal scavenging proved unsuccessful and suggests that a re-evaluation of the exhalative model should be done at the scale of the mining camp. However, as shown in this study, hydrothermal alteration can be used to vector towards ore along the Key Tuffite.

Keywords

VMS Exhalite Replacement Abitibi Matagami Bracemac-McLeod Perseverance 

Supplementary material

126_2013_499_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (70 kb)
ESM 1Results of whole-rock analyses of the Key Tuffite, calculated precursor and reference materials to monitor the quality of the whole rock analyses. Results and methodology details of the LA-ICP-MS analysis realized on individual layers of the Key Tuffite. (XLSX 69 kb)

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Experimental and Quantitative Metallogeny Research Laboratory (LAMEQ)Université du Québec à ChicoutimiChicoutimiCanada
  2. 2.GlencoreBureau d’exploration MatagamiMatagamiCanada

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