Till Geochemistry in Areas of Thick Drift and its Application to Gold Exploration, Matheson Area, Northeastern Ontario

Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 3, No. 1, 1994

M.B. McCLENAGHAN, Geological Survey of Canada, Terrain Sciences Division, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The Ontario Geological Survey completed a regional till sampling project between 1984 and 1988 in the Black River Matheson (BRiM) area of northeastern Ontario. The project was designed to aid mineral exploration in the area by documenting the Quaternary stratigraphy and by providing a database of till geochemistry. This paper summarizes the results from the sonic overburden drilling component of the BRiM project carried out in areas of thick drift (> 5 m). Results from till sampling in areas of thinner drift (< 5 m) have been presented in a separate paper. Approximately 1100 till samples were collected from 225 sonic drill holes. For each sample, the non-magnetic heavy mineral (>3.3 S.G.) and fine (-250 mesh) till fractions were analyzed geochemically and visible gold grains were recovered by panning. Gold and other multi-element geochemical data were plotted using proportional symbols to highlight anomalous areas and to demonstrate how to evaluate and interpret a very large geochemical dataset. Thresholds for identifying anomalous concentrations of Au in till samples, defined using the 95th percentile, are 1500 ppb and 12 ppb for the heavy mineral and fine fractions, respectively. The heavy mineral fraction of older tills and to a lesser extent, Matheson Till, display a number of significant gold anomalies in the study area, which in a few cases, are associated with base metal anomalies. The vertical position of gold anomalies in Matheson and older tills varies from directly on bedrock to several meters above the bedrock surface and can provide information of relative ice transport distances.