Tectonic setting and sulphide deposits of the Hackett River Belt, Slave Province

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 73, No. 815, 1980

R.A. FRITH and S.M. ROSCOE, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa

Belts of Yellowknife Supergroup volcanic and sedimentary strata in the Slave Structural Province are separated by granitoid complexes. The strata and most intrusive rocks are 2.7 and 2.5 Ga old, but rocks around 3.1 Ga have been recognized in some of the complexes and are believed to represent a once-extensive sialic crust. Volcanics were erupted along rifts in this crust and the rifts became sites of crustal foundering and the development of troughs that filled with turbidites of volcanic and granitoid provenance. Present margins of the granitoid complexes may be close to the original margins of deposition of volcanics, with associated mineral deposits, and close to the thickest parts of basins of sedimentation.The Hackett River volcanic belt extends 100 kilometres between Mara River and Back River and is crudely S-shaped, with a northern sector surrounding a core of granitoid basement rocks, a northeasterly facing central sector and a southerly facing southern sector. Up to 8 kilometres of andesitic volcanics with intercalated felsic volcanic rocks are preserved within the central sector. The felsic rocks include thick lenses of volcaniclastics with large, quartz-eye-bearing clasts, but the known metal deposits are not associated with these. Both of the deposit areas, the Hackett River area in the northern domal sector and the 'A itch' Lake area 40 kilometres to the south in the central sector, are near the tops of relatively thin atypical volcanic sequences above suspected basement rocks. The Yava deposit near 'Aitch' Lake overlies a unit of subaerially deposited, welded, andesitic ash flows and the Hackett River deposits overlie highly metamorphosed volcaniclastic rocks that include suspected ignimbrites.The deposits are notably argentiferous and lead-rich. They consist of stratigraphically zoned sheet-like bodies of iron sulphides, sphalerite, galena and chalcopyrite underlain by altered rocks containing chalcopyrite stringers. The Yava deposit was formed where hydrothermal fluids exuded through the fractured floor of a flooded caldera basin. The Hackett River deposits may have been formed in a similar setting and it is not inconceivable that all the known deposits in the belt were formed in a single large caldera basin, although there is no independent evidence for the required major fault separation between the Hackett River dome and the 'Aitch' Lake area.
Keywords: Slave Province, Archean, Basement rocks, Tectonics, Ig-rimbrites, Volcanogenic sulphide deposits, Sulphide deposit zonation, Hackett River Deposits, Yava deposit.