Werdon, M.B., 1999

Publication Details

  • Title:

    Geology and timing of zinc-lead-silver mineralization, northern Brooks Range, Alaska
  • Authors:

    Werdon, M.B.
  • Publication Date:

    1999
  • Publisher:

    University of Alaska Fairbanks 
  • Ordering Info:

    Not available
  • Quadrangle(s):

    De Long Mountains; Howard Pass; Killik River

Bibliographic Reference

Werdon, M.B., 1999, Geology and timing of zinc-lead-silver mineralization, northern Brooks Range, Alaska: University of Alaska Fairbanks, Ph.D. dissertation, 130 p.

Abstract

The north-central and northwestern Brooks Range of Alaska hosts widespread Carboniferous Zn-Pb-Ag +/- Ba shale-hosted massive sulfide (Sedex) deposits, and Zn-Pb-Ag +/- Cu vein-breccia and disseminated sulfide occurrences. The Sedex deposits are hosted by black carbonaceous shale and siliceous mudstone of the Mississippian to Pennsylvanian Kuna Formation and are spatially associated with minor (e.g., Red Dog) to locally abundant (e.g., Drenchwater) volcanic and hypabyssal intrusive rocks. The vein-breccia and disseminated sulfide occurrences show no obvious igneous association and are hosted by a deformed but only weakly metamorphosed package of Upper Devonian to Lower Mississippian mixed continental and marine elastic rocks (the Endicott Group). Textural, mineralogical, isotopic, chemical, and fluid inclusion data indicate that sulfides, quartz, and lesser carbonates in the Kady vein-breccia and disseminated sulfide prospect were deposited from slightly acidic, low salinity, carbon-destructive, relatively oxidized, low temperature (<250 degrees C) hydrothermal fluids, under evolving chemical conditions (i.e., decreasing temperature and pressure, and increasing pH, fo2, fs2). The lack of known Sedex mineralization in the north-central Brooks Range and the presence of sulfide mineralization in the Endicott Group suggest that Kady represents the hydrothermal fluid pathway below a failed or non-existent Sedex system. Trace-element analyses of volcanic rocks and 40Ar/39Ar laser step-heating ages indicate the following geologic history for the north-central and northwestern Brooks Range: within-plate alkaline volcanic rocks at Red Dog and Drenchwater were emplaced from approximately 344 Ma to 336 Ma in a continental extensional environment. This presumably set up an elevated geothermal gradient, which heated basinal fluids. Sedex mineralization is estimated to have formed between 337 and ~314 Ma by basinal dewatering. 40Ar/39Ar ages of recrystallized white mica in Upper Devonian sandstone adjacent to large sulfide-bearing vein-breccia zones fall in the independently estimated timeframe for Sedex mineralization. Tholeiitic gabbro magmatic activity occurred around 276 +/- 15 Ma. The transition with time from within plate alkaline to tholeiitic magmatism suggests progressive episodic extension in a continental basin.

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