Geology and Mineral Exploration Potential of the Quesnel Trough, British Columbia

CIM Bulletin, 1970

RICHARD B. CAMPBELL and HOWARD W. TIPPER, Geological Survey of Canada, Vancouver, B.C.

The Quesnel Trough is underlain by a thick sequence of mainly Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic volcanicclastic and sedimentary rocks that lie between the highly deformed Proterozoic and Paleozoic rocks in the Omineca Geanticline to the east and the Upper Paleozoic Cache Creek Group in the Pinchi Geanticline to the west. Broad areas of the Trough between Kamloops and Williams Lake are covered by Eocene volcanics and sediments and by Miocene-Pliocene plateau lava. Granitic intrusions were apparently mainly confined to two major episodes; one about 200 m.y. ago (coeval with the Guichon batholith) and one about 100 m.y. ago. In addition, the region includes small granitic and syenitic intrusions, some porphyritic, that may be all or partly still younger. Exposures in the region are generally small and scattered, obscured by widespread, not necessarily thick glacial deposits. This, together with the extensive Tertiary cover, makes prospecting difficult. The part of the Quesnel Trough discussed here is the direct northwestward extension of the copper-rich Kamloops-Merritt-Princeton region. It contains the Boss Mountain molybdenum mine, related to a breccia zone induced in a batholith of the oldest group by a younger intrusion, and the Cariboo Bell copper deposit in Lower Jurassic volcanic-elastic rocks and syenitic intrusions. The Gibraltar deposit, in a 200-m.y. intrusion, is within the Pinchi Geanticline close to the margin of the Trough. Molybdenum prospects are mainly restricted within or near the 100-m.y. granitic rocks. Copper prospects, on the other hand, are most prominent in the volcanic-elastic rocks and in the 200-m.y.-old granitic rocks, although they can also be spatially related to younger intrusions. Copper thus has a wide potential distribution. The writers believe that the region is deserving of careful and comprehensive exploration by directly applying the knowledge and techniques developed in the important producing areas to the south. All of the major pre-Tertiary geological elements seem to have potential for mineral deposits; none should be ignored. A thorough knowledge of the thickness and distribution of the Tertiary rocks and the development of geophysical methods to "see through" them is of particular importance.
Keywords: copper, Deposits, Geological Survey of Canada, Geological Survey of Canada, greywacke, Quesnel Lake, tertiary, Triassic, geology, Intrusions, Rock, Rocks