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Thurston

Phillips C. Thurston

Adjunct Professor in Residence
Precambrian Geology

AB (Rutgers)
MSc (Bryn Mawr)
PhD (Western)
Department of Earth Sciences
Laurentian University
Sudbury, Ontario
P3E 2C6
Telephone: (705) 675-1151 ext 2372
E-mail: pthurston@laurentian.ca

Research Interests

My research activities center on the origin and development of Archean greenstone belts. To pursue this interest, I have used the tools of physical volcanology, sedimentology and trace element geochemistry to provide insight into tectonic and stratigraphic models for greenstone belts. My research is supported by NSERC and by the “Discover Abitibi Greenstone Architecture” grant to a Laurentian team (Thurston, Piercey, Lafrance, Gibson, Lesher). The Discover Abitibi project is designed to improve exploration techniques for VMS and lode gold mineral deposits. In the VMS projects at Timmins and Kirkland Lake we are mapping stratigraphy, volcanology and VMS related alteration. We have succeeded in documenting superposition of multiple hydrothermal systems in the Blake River assemblage and establishing stratigraphy and structure of the Tisdale assemblage and its relationship to diapiric synvolcanic plutonism. In the gold projects we are establishing structural controls on lode gold mineralization at the deposit scale and seeking to expand our understanding to belt scale structural processes and timing. In my NSERC-funded work, I have concentrated upon greenstone stratigraphy such as inter-assemblage contacts as possible unconformities (Michipicoten greenstone belt), and the role of quartz arenite units as indicators of erosional periods and possibly remote indicators of orogenic events (Moyen Nord area of Québec), and the role of Timiskaming sequences as a tool in devising tectonic subdivisions of greenstone belts ( Finland and Russia ).

My interests, in no particular order, are:

  • The evolution of greenstone belts.
  • The place of quartzite bearing platforms in greenstone evolution in the Superior Province and elsewhere.
  • The use of geochemistry, rock types and primary structures in constraining the geodynamic setting of greenstone belt assemblages
  • The inter-relationship between potential field geophysics and the geology of greenstone belts.

Available Research Projects

If you are interested in a MSc or PhD research project, please contact me or see our current research projects and geology graduate program information.

Current Graduate Students

PhD Students

Blandine, Gourcerol, is working on the geochemistry of iron formation associated with gold deposits at the Meadowbank deposit of Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. north of Baker Lake in Nunavut. She will also do some work in the fall at the Musselwhite Mine of Goldcorp Inc. north of Pickle Lake in Ontario. Phil Thurston will be working on iron formation in the Wawa area, to establish depositional conditions. [Thurston / Kontak]

Former Graduate Students

Past PhD Students

Houlé, Michel, Ph.D. student B.Sc, M.Sc Université Laval Physical Volcanology and Metallogenesis of Komatiites in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Ontario-Québec, Ph.D. thesis [based at University of Ottawa, co-supervised with Tony Fowler and Mike Lesher] Ph.D. thesis (based at University of Ottawa) [Thurston / Tony Fowler]

Past MSc Students

Baldwin, Geoff, B.Sc. (Acadia) 2009. The Sedimentology and Geochemistry of Banded Iron Formations of the Deloro Assemblage, Bartlett Dome Area, Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Ontario, Canada: Implications for the BIF Deposition and Greenstone Belt Formation. [Thurston / Kamber]

Diana Kuiper, B.Sc. Hons. (Ottawa), Mafic dykes in the Blake River Group [Gibson / Thurston]

Representative Publications

Chapters in Books

Thurston, P.C. and Ayres, L.D., (2004) Archean and Proterozoic greenstone belts: evolution and volcanic cyclicity, p.311-333. In: Eriksson, P., Altermann, W., Nelson, D., Mueller, W., Catuneanu, O., and Strand, K., Tempos and Events in Precambrian Time, Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Mueller, W. and Thurston, P.C., (2004) Precambrian Volcanism an Independent Variable through time – Introduction. p. 271-272 In: Eriksson, P., Altermann, W., Nelson, D., Mueller, W., Catuneanu, O., and Strand , K., Tempos and Events in Precambrian Time, Elsevier, Amsterdam

Journal Articles

Gourcerol, B., Thurston, P.C., and Kontak, D., 2016. Depositional Setting of Algoma-type Banded Iron Formation, Precambrian Research, in press.

Gourcerol, B., Thurston, P.C., Kontak, D., and Duparc, Q., 2016. Do magnetite layers in Algoma-type BIF preserve their primary geochemical signature: A case study of samples from three Archean BIF-hosted gold deposits? Canadian Mineralogist, accepted.

Thurston, P.C., 2015. Greenstone belts and granite-greenstone terranes: constraints on the nature of the Archean world, Geoscience Canada, accepted May 2015.

Gourcerol, B., Thurston, P.C., Kontak, D.J., Côté-Mantha, O., and Biczok, J. 2015. The geochemistry of chert from the Banded Iron Formation-type Musselwhite and Meadowbank gold deposits: Distinguishing primary and mineralization-related signatures of chert; Geological Survey of Canada, Current Research 2015-1, 24 p. doi:10.4095/295531

Gourcerol, B., Thurston, P.C. Kontak, D., and Cote-Mantha, O., 2014. Interpretations and Implications of Preliminary LA-ICP-MS analysis of chert fro the origin of geochemical signatures in banded iron-formations from the Meadowbank gold deposit, western Churchill Province, Nunavut. Geol. Survey Canada Current Research 2013-20 22p.

B. Gourcerol, P.C. Thurston, D.J. Kontak, and O. Côté-Mantha 2014. Interpretations and implications of preliminary LA ICP-MS analysis of chert for the origin of geochemical signatures in banded iron formations (BIFs) from the Meadowbank gold deposit, Western Churchill Province, Nunavut. Chemical geology Feb 2015 

B. Gourcerol, P.C. Thurston, D.J. Kontak, and O. Côté-Mantha 2013: Interpretations and implications of preliminary LA ICP-MS analysis of chert for the origin of geochemical signatures in banded iron formations (BIFs) from the Meadowbank gold deposit, Western Churchill Province, Nunavut GSC Current Research 2014-1

Thurston, P.C., Kamber, B.S., Whitehouse, M. 2012. Archean cherts in Banded Iron Formation: insight into Neoarchean ocean chemistry and depositional processes. Precambrian Research vol. 214-215: 227-257. (NSERC)

Thurston, P.C., Baldwin, G.J., Kamber, B.S. 2011, Discrimination of multiple origins for BIF using Ni/Cr ratios and REE+Y systematics: implications for greenstone belt stratigraphy e.g., Abitibi greenstone belt, Canada, Precambrian Research submitted. (NSERC)

Bédard, J.H., Harris, L.B., Thurston, P.C., 2011, The Hunting of the snArc, Precambrian Research vol. 229: 20-48. (NSERC)

Kopylova MG*, Afanasiev VP, Miller C, Bruce L, Thurston P, Ryder J, 2011, Diamondiferous conglomerate preserves evidence for kimberlite and garnet granulite of the Neoarchean Southern Superior craton .Earth & Planetary Science letters vol. 312: 213-225.(NSERC)

Baldwin, G. J., P. C. Thurston, BS Kamber, 2011, High-precision REE, Ni, and Cr chemistry of chert microbands pre-screened with in-situ analysis Chemical Geology 285: 133-143. (NSERC)

P.C. Thurston, V. McNicoll, D. Kuiper and J. Goutier, Submitted. Mafic Dikes as Indicators of the Evolution of the Blake River Group. Economic Geology submitted.

D. Kuiper, P.C. Thurston, J. Goutier, and H.L. Gibson: submitted. Geology, geochemistry and geochronology of the Dufault, Séguin, and Horseshoe gabbroic-dioritic intrusions, Blake River Group (2704-2695 Ma), Abitibi Subprovince, Québec

Thurston, P., Ayer, J., Goutier, J., and Hamilton, M. A., 2008, Depositional Gaps in Abitibi Greenstone Belt Stratigraphy: a key to exploration for syngenetic mineralization: Economic Geology, v. 103, p. 1097-1134. (DA + NSERC)

Finamore, S.M., Gibson, H.L., and Thurston, P.C., 2008, Archean Synvolcanic Intrusions and Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide at the Genex Mine, Kamiskotia Area, Timmins Ontario: Ec. Geology, v. 103, p.1203-1218 (DA)

Technical Papers

Ayer, J.A., Thurston, P.C. and Lafrance, B. 2008: Introduction to the Special Issue: an overview of the Discover Abitibi Initiative and related papers. Economic Geology v. 103, 1091-1096.

Thurston, P.C. 2008: Field Guide to the Stratigraphy and Structure of the Timmins Gold Mining Camp, Abitibi subprovince, p 75-82 in: Benn, K. (editor) Late Archean Crust: Magmatism and Tectonics of the Abitibi Subprovince, Canadian Shield; Geol Soc. Am. Field Forum.

Houlé, M. G., Ayer, J. A., Baldwin, G., Berger, B., Dinel, E., Fowler, A. D., Moulton, B., Saumur, B.-M., and Thurston, P., 2008, Stratigraphy and Volcanology of Supracrustal Assemblages hosting Base Metal and Gold Mineralization in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Field Trip B4: Quebec, Geological Association of Canada, Mineralogical Association of Canada, p. 84.

Ayer, J A; and 41 authors, 2007:The Abitibi greenstone belt; update of the Precambrian Geoscience Section Program, the Targeted Geoscience Initiative III Abitibi and Deep Search Projects, Summary of field work and other activities 2007 Ontario Geological Survey, Open File Report 6213, pp.3.1-3.44.

Thurston, P.C. 2008: Field Guide to the Stratigraphy and Structure of the Timmins Gold Mining Camp, Abitibi subprovince,p 75-82 in: Benn, K. (editor) Late Archean Crust: Magmatism and Tectonics of the Abitibi Subprvince, Canadian Shield; Geol Soc. Am. Field Forum.

Houlé, M. G., Ayer, J. A., Baldwin, G., Berger, B., Dinel, E., Fowler, A. D., Moulton, B., Saumur, B.-M., and Thurston, P., 2008, Stratigraphy and Volcanology of Supracrustal Assemblages hosting Base Metal and Gold Mineralization in the Abitibi Greenstone Belt, Field Trip B4: Quebec, Geological Association of Canada, Mineralogical Association of Canada, p. 84.

Abstracts

B. Gourcerol1, P.C. Thurston1, D.J. Kontak1, O. Côté-Mantha2 and J. Biczok3 2015: Depositional Setting of Algoma-type Banded Iron Formation from the Meadowbank, Meliadine and Musselwhite gold deposits. PDAC Poster abstract, March 2, 2015

B. Gourcerol1, P.C. Thurston1, D.J. Kontak1, O. Côté-Mantha 2014: The Geochemistry of banded iron formations (BIF) at the Meadowbank gold deposit, Churchill Province: Implications for the origin of gold mineralization in BIF deposits. GAC/MAC Abstract vol. 37: 107.

B. Gourcerol1, P.C. Thurston1, D.J. Kontak1, O. Côté-Mantha, 2014 : The Geochemical Signature of Chert from Banded Iron Formation (BIFs) in the Meadowbank Gold deposit, Nunavut: Implications for the Sources of Fluids in Gold Mineralized BIF Deposits. Poster Presentation, Prospectors and Developers Assoc. of Canada, March 3, 2014

Rodzinyak, K.,Rowe, C., Bekker, A., Thurston , P. Wing, B., 2011. Sulfur isotopes as a proxy for early Earth atmosphere: Constraints for habitability on other planets. 62nd Annual Astronautical Congress, 2011. IAC 2011.

Gourcerol, B., Thurston, P.C., and Kontak, D., 2014. The geochemistry of banded iron formation at the Meadowbank geold deposit, Churchill province: Implications for the origin of gold mineralization in BIFs. GAC Abstracts, Vol 37, p. 107.

Ross, K.,Kendall, J.D. Macdonald, A.J., Kontak, D. and Thurston, P.C. 2014. Gold sniffing: the design of a protable device for in situ measurement of particulate gold and its application in exploration. GAC Abstracts, Vol 37, p. 236.

Thurston, PC, and Kamber BS 2013, Testing the Relationship between LIPs, BIF, and VMS deposits,GAC abstract.

Thurston, PC, Archean sedimentary rocks: record of a different world, GAC abstract.

Kopylova MG*, Afanasiev VP, Miller C, Bruce L, Thurston P, Ryder J, 2011, Kimberlite-Derived Harzburgitic Diamonds from the Mesoarchean Superior Craton International Kimberlite Conference Abstract submitted.

Baldwin, G., Thurston, PC, Kamber, B.S., 2010. The geochemistry of Algoma-type iron formatins: an example from the Abitibi Greenstone belt, in: Miller, J. (Ed.), Geology, Mineralogy and Genesis of Precambrian Iron formations. Precambrian Reseaarch Center Professional Workshop Series, Duluth MN, pp. 12-11 to 12-18.

Thurston, PC Goutier,J Ayer, JA Baldwin, GJ 2010,A new stratigraphic model for greenstone belts based on the Abitibi: stratigraphic and economic importance of Depositional Gaps, PDAC Abitibi Symposium

Ayer,JA Goutier,J., Thurston, PC, Dube B., & Kamber, B., 2010, Abitibi tectonic and metallogenic evolution: an improved understanding based on focused Discover Abitibi and TGI-3 research” PDAC Abitibi Symposium.

Thurston, PC, Baldwin, GJ, Kamber, BS, Stone, D, 2010, The Economic and Stratigraphic Importance of Depositional gaps in Archean Greenstone belt Stratigraphy, Fifth International Archean Symposium Abstracts, GSWA Record 2010/18, p. 271-273.

Ayer, JA, Goutier, J., Thurston PC, Dube, B., and Kamber, BS, 2010, Abitibi-Wawa Subprovince Tectonic and Metallogenic evolution, Yilgarn-Superior Workshop – Abstracts GSWA Record 2010-20 p. 7-11.

Thurston, PC, Kamber, BS, Ayer JA, Baldwin GJ, 2010, What happens when there is no volcanism: BIFs and how greenstones have developed n the Superior and elsewhere. Yilgarn-Superior Workshop – Abstracts GSWA Record 2010-20 p. 32-36.

Thurston, PC, 2010, The Superior Province: not a simple lateral tectonic model. London cratons meeting

Thurston, PC, Baldwin, GJ Kamber, BS, 2010, Algoma type Iron Formation: an Overview of the Occurrence and Origin, Workshop on the Geology, Mineralogy and Genesis of Precambrian Iron Formations, Precambrian Research Center, U of Minnesota, Duluth.

Baldwin, GJ, Thurston, PC., Kamber, BS, 2010, The Geochemistry of Algoma-type iron formations: an example from the Abitbi Greenstone Belt Workshop on the Geology, Mineralogy and Genesis of Precambrian Iron Formations, Precambrian Research Center, U of Minnesota, Duluth

Thurston, PC, 2009. Secular Variation in Archean Greenstones and the Puzzling lack of Internal Unconformities, In: Archean Granite-Greenstone systems and their younger Analogues, p. 161-164. Karelian Br. Russian Acad. of Sci., Petrozavodsk.

Thurston, PC, 2009. Event Markers: Proterozoic vs. Archean – a contrast GAC Abstract

Thurston, PC, Goutier, J., McNicoll, V. and Legault, M. 2008: Mafic dykes cutting the Blake River Group, Abitibi Subprovince, GAC Abstract.

Thurston, PC, Goutier, J., Ayer, J. and Hamilton, M.A. 2008: Depositional gaps in Abitibi greenstone belt stratigraphy: A key to exploration for syngenetic mineralization..GAC Abstract

Baldwin, G.J., Thurston, PC, Kamber, B.S., and Houlé, M.G., 2008: The Deloro-Tisdale SIZ of the Abitibi greenstone belt: an example from McArthur Township, Ontario, in: Institute on Lake Superior Geology, Proceedings Volume 54, p. 5.

Goutier, J., McNicoll, V., Dion, C., Legault, M., Ross, P-S., Mercier-Langevin, P., Monecke, T., Thurston, PC et Ayer, J. A., 2008: Une nouvelle stratigraphie du Groupe de Blake River : deux grands épisodes volcaniques et quatre épisodes de minéralisations en sulfures massifs volcanogènes. GAC Abstract