Geochemical profile of till from Longlac, Ontario to Somerset Island

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 822, 1980

WILLIAM W. SHILTS, Terrain Sciences Division, Geological Survey of Canada

In carrying out a geotechnical survey of a proposed gas pipeline route from the Arctic Islands south to Longlac, Ontario, the Polar Gas Consortium contracted the drilling of several hundred 2- to 20-m-deep boreholes in drift and bedrock. Samples from these holes were made available to the Geological Survey of Canada, where they were subjected to stratigraphic and trace-element geochemical analyses. The geochemical characteristics of the clay and sand-sized heavy mineral fractions of till samples from these boreholes have been summarized in a series of geochemical profiles.From the proposed pipeline terminus at Longlac northward to the vicinity of God's River in Manitoba, tills contain significant amounts of Paleozoic carbonate rocks and Proterozoic sedimentary rocks derived from the Hudson Bay basin and lowlands. Within this section, two sites were enriched in base metals, indicating the possibility of local mineralization of possible economic interest.From God's River northward to Seal River, Manitoba, no evidence of local mineralization was noted. The heavy mineral fractions of the tills are universally enriched in Mn-rich siderite thought to originate on or in the Paleozoic section of the Hudson Bay lowlands.From Seal River northward to Thelon River, near Baker Lake, tills contain only components originating west of the Hudson Bay sedimentary basin. Near the Keewatin-Manitoba border, all till is enriched in uranium, which probably originates in the "young" porphyritic granites underlying much of the region, and produces a distinctive airborne radiometric anomaly.At the Thelon River, multiple till sections are variously enriched in Cr, Ni, U, Cu and Mo in the vicinity of a distinctive aeromagnetic anomaly.From Thelon River northward, several coincident zones of chromium and uranium enrichment are found where the line of boreholes crosses east-west-striking belts of volcanic, ultramafic and sedimentary rocks of the Prince Albert Group.The results of this study indicate that till tends to have characteristic element associations or concentrations over each of several broad regions along the pipeline route. These are related both to large-scale bedrock associations and to large-scale effects of glacial dispersal. In addition, the samples, collected more or less at random with respect to local bedrock geology, have intersected several small-scale geochemical anomalies that appear to be related to zones of mineralization of possible economic interest.
Keywords: Geochemistry, Till profiles, Polar Gas Consortium, Mineral exploration, Glacial deposits.