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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Canadian Journal of Earth SciencesCanadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 54, Number 6, p.654-676 (2017)




explosive submarine felsic volcanism, Flin Flon Belt, rifting, Snow Lake arc assemblage, VMS deposits


The thrust-bounded McLeod Road – Birch Lake (MB) sequence occurs within the Paleoproterozoic Snow Lake arc (SLA) assemblage of the Flin Flon belt. Stratigraphic correlation of volcanic strata of theMBsequence with strata of the thrust-bounded Chisel sequence indicates that distinctive, submarine, eruption-fed, pyroclastic flow deposits are more extensive and volumi- nous than previously recognized (>10 km3). These voluminous felsic pyroclastic deposits define a distinct magmatic and explosive volcanic event during bimodal volcanism that accompanied rifting of the SLA. The felsic pyroclastic deposits define the remnants of a basin, or of nested basins, that formed during arc rifting and subsidence, and their eruption immediately preceded formation of the Chisel sequence volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits. Although the Chisel sequence ore interval is recognized in theMBsequence, the lack of VMS-related alteration indicates thatVMShydrothermal activity was restricted to the Chisel portion of the basin. However, the MB sequence is host to the younger Snow Lake gold mine, a 1.4M oz (43 699 kg) gold producer. The overlying MORB-like Birch Lake basalts, if conformable with the MB sequence, may represent a progression from a rifted-arc to a back-arc setting. However, if they are thrust fault bounded, then they may represent the initial phases of arc-rifting, prior to the voluminous felsic pyroclastic eruptions. Correlation and integrity of stratigraphy between the thrust- bounded MB and SLA sequences indicates that the bounding thrust faults, which developed during accretionary processes, have less regional significance than previously interpreted.