Geochemical Methods Applied to Uranium Exploration in Southwest Baffin Island

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 70, No. 781, 1977

Yvon T. Maurice, Geochemist, Resource Geophysics and Geochemistry Division, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa

Under the auspices of the Federal-Provincial Uranium Reconnaissance Program, a geochemical orientation survey was undertaken in an area of uraniferous Lower Proterozoic (Aphebian) rocks near Cape Dorset in southwest Baffin Island. The main objective of this study was to establish a methodology for a future reconnaissance geochemical program using lake samples over a 300-mile Lower Proterozoic rock belt that occurs along the southern coast of Baffin Island. Mineralogical and chemical studies of known radioactive occurrences, combined with detailed sampling of secondary environment media in the vicinity of the showings, indicate that uranium is the most significant pathfinder, despite considerable enrichment of other metals in the uraniferous rocks. Significant geochemical patterns produced by uranium in lake waters and uranium in lake sediments have been obtained, but their relative usefulness depends on the distribution of carbonate bedrock, which in turn affect the bicarbonate content of lake waters. In southern Baffin Island, because of erratic variation in lake-water alkalinity, it is recommended that both waters and sediments be sampled on a routine basis. The need for lake-water acidification to prevent depletion of soluble metal ions in samples resulting from adsorption on the walls of the containers and/or suspended solid matter is discussed briefly. The base metal potential of the area was examined in some detail and found to be significant, particularly for a Lower Proterozoic gossanous formation that occurs throughout southern Baffin Island.
Keywords: Mineral exploration, Exploration techniques, Geochemical exploration, Uranium exploration, Lead, Baffin Island, Lake waters, Lake sediments.