A Review of the Geology of Gold in Nova Scotia

Special Volume, Vol. SV 24, No. 1982, 1982

Gold has been reported from most geological environments in Nova Scotia; however, virtually all production (circa 2,000, 000 troy ounces; circa 60 tonnes) has come from that part of the province to the south of the Glooscap Fault which is underlain by Lower Paleozoic rocks of the Meguma Group. Over fifty concordant sets of quartz-carbonate-arsenopyrite veins have seen production. The host rocks are greenschist-grade equivalents of Cambro-Ordovician flyschoid quartz wackes and shales folded and metamorphosed during the Devonian Acadian Orogeny. The veins were emplaced under conditions of greenschist-grade regional metamorphism and under the same conditions of tectonic stress that later resulted in the regional folds and penetrative, axial-plane slaty cleavage. Rapid filling of hydraulic fractures caused by excess metamorphic pore fluid pressure under Acadian tectonic stress conditions can account for the geometry and paragenesis of these veins. The ultimate source for gold deposits in most greenschist grade domains remains in doubt, but these domains seem to have had ample gold within them available for mobilization. The work done, to date, on the gold geology of Nova Scotia suggests that regional greenschist metamorphism was an effective mobilizer and a potential concentrator of Au, As, W, Fe and S from these vast reservoirs. In rocks of pre-Acadian age north of the Glooscap Fault, gold occurs as an important accessory in volcanogenic massive sulphide ore, as a minor constituent in other types of basemetal concentrations and in one small concordant group of quartz veins. The post-Acadian metallogenetic domain, which overlies and overprints the two older domains, contains small amounts of gold in many mineralizing environments. Veins, with stibnite and gold, cross-cut crystalline rocks. Disseminated gold is present in basal conglomerates of post-tectonic molasse. Gold has been a by-product of Mississippi Valley-type Pb-Zn-Ba-Sr deposits in Lower Carboniferous sedimentary rocks and has been reported with Pb-Zn-Ba-F in veins which cross-cut Lower Carboniferous and older rocks. Small post-glacial placers have also seen minor production.
Mots Clés: Gold, gold mining, geology, Nova Scotia, gold deposits, greenschist metamorphism