- GeoRef, Copyright 2008, American Geological Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Society of Economic Geologists
A belt of volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits extends for over 150 km along the southern margin of the Yukon-Tanana terrane of the eastern Alaska Range. Located north of the Denali fault, the Yukon-Tanana terrane forms a major basement unit in east-central Alaska. The volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits are primarily in the Jarvis Creek Glacier subterrane, one of the highest structural-stratigraphic levels of the Yukon-Tanana terrane. The Jarvis Creek Glacier subterrane consists of a volcanogenic massive sulfide-bearing metavolcanic rock member and a metasedimentary rock member. The volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits and enclosing metavolcanic and metasedimentary schists exhibit two periods of regional metamorphism and penetrative deformation: an older, Early Cretaceous, amphibolite facies event and a younger, mid-Cretaceous lower greenschist facies event.From northwest to southeast, the major volcanogenic massive sulfide districts are the Bonnifield, Trident Glacier, and Delta. The Bonnifield district contains massive sulfide deposits in metavolcanic and metasedimentary rocks that are correlated with the Jarvis Creek Glacier subterrane. The 25-km-long, northwest-trending Trident Glacier district contains several occurrences consisting of massive pyrrhotite and lesser pyrite, minor chalcopyrite with or without sphalerite, and galena and arsenopyrite in south-dipping massive sulfide pods, lenses, and stringers that parallel the foliation of the enclosing schists. Host-rock protoliths were mainly andesite, dacite, rhyodacite tuffs and flows, shale, and limestone, with lesser quartz-rich keratophyre flows and tuffs, volcanic graywacke, and siltstone.The Delta district contains at least 35 deposits in an 800-km 2 area. Thirty-one of the deposits define four mineral trends, 5 to 32 km long, that are subparallel to the west-northwest-striking, southwest-dipping structures and lithologies. The deposits consist of layers and zones containing varying amounts of massive to disseminated pyrite and pyrrhotite, and lesser amounts of chalcopyrite, galena, sphalerite, and arsenopyrite. The larger deposits range between 1.0 and 12.4 million metric tons with combined grades of 5.6 percent total metal (Cu, Pb, Zn), and Ag and Au contents of 56 and 1.9 g/metric ton, respectively. Hostrock protoliths are similar to those found in the Trident Glacier district, but some of the deposits are spatially associated with diorite or gabbro sills that exhibit lower greenschist facies metamorphism and deformation.Sulfur isotope values of 26 pyrrhotite separates from the Trident Glacier district occurrences average 7.7 per mil, the mean value of seven pyrite separates is 8.1 per mil. Forty-one Delta district pyrite separates average 5.9 per mil and ranges of values of the four northwest-trending trends overlap. The relative consistency of sulfur isotope values of iron-bearing sulfides in the Trident Glacier district, and the apparent lithologic relationship of isotope values in the Delta district, may reflect original-rock sulfur isotope values. Alternatively, the 34 S-enriched values may have resulted from the addition of reduced seawater sulfate to the hydrothermal fluid. The sulfide accumulations are interpreted as kuroko-like deposits that formed along a Devonian continental margin igneous arc. Deeper level portions of the arc are exposed in structurally lower levels of the Yukon-Tanana terrane to the north and contain metamorphosed granodiorite and granite plutons of Devonian to Mississippian age. U-Pb isotope data from zircons from metavolcanic rocks hosting the sulfide bodies indicate an age of about 370 Ma. The 207 Pb/ 204 Pb ratios for sulfides from the three districts are similar and indicate lead was in part derived from first-cycle sediments that were eroded largely from Precambrian crystalline rocks. The 207 Pb/ 204 Pb ratios from feldspars in Devonian metavolcanic rocks are similar to those in sulfides and indicate incorporation of radiogenic Precambrian lead into the Devonian magmas. A Precambrian crystalline source for detritus in metasedimentary rocks is indicated by locally abundant quartzite containing approximately 2.3 Ga zircons which were derived from the Hudsonian-age block of the Canadian Shield in southern British Columbia.Cretaceous greenschist facies retrogressive metamorphism and intense penetrative deformation is indicated by reequilibration of U-Pb isotope ratios, metamorphic Rb-Sr mineral isochrons, and K-Ar biotite and muscovite ages of 110 to 115 Ma. The data indicate that the mid-Cretaceous retrogressive metamorphism and associated intense deformation occurred during the accretion of the Yukon-Tanana terrane to Alaska.