DOI: 10.5382/econgeo.5033 ISSN:

A Fluid Chemical Study of the World-Class, Intrusion-Related Archean Windfall Gold Deposit, Quebec, Canada

Brandon Choquette, Daniel J. Kontak, Édouard Côté-Lavoie, Mostafa Fayek
  • Economic Geology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geology
  • Geophysics


Windfall is a world-class Archean intrusion-related Au deposit (7.4+ Moz of Au) located in the underexplored Urban-Barry greenstone belt (Quebec, Canada). The deposit remains an enigmatic Au setting—its intrusion-related features contrast with the more common orogenic deposit type in the Au-endowed Abitibi greenstone belt. Mineralization consists of quartz-pyrite-carbonate ± tourmaline veins and stockworks that cut sericite-pyrite ± silica ± tourmaline ± fuchsite replacement zones, all of which overprint a swarm of 2697.6 ± 2.6 Ma quartz-feldspar porphyry dikes. That the ore zones and quartz-feldspar porphyry dikes are cut by a later set of 2697.6 ± 0.4 Ma quartz-feldspar porphyry dikes constrains mineralization temporally and spatially to intrusive activity. To further address the deposit genesis, ore petrology integrated with scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectrometry analysis and cathodoluminescence imaging, laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry mapping of pyrite, fluid inclusion studies, and in situ secondary ion mass spectrometry isotopic studies (O, S) were completed. Ore-related sulfides are dominated by pyrite with lesser arsenopyrite, sphalerite, chalcopyrite, tennantite-tetrahedrite, galena, gold, electrum, and minor Sb-rich and telluride alloys. Four pyrite generations (Py1-Py4) occur, with elemental maps indicating primary Au is related to As-rich Py2 that is also enriched in Ag-Sb-Hg-Cu-Zn-Pb-Bi-Te. The δ34Spyrite values are similar for Py1 to Py3, with an inferred δ34Sfluid of ~5‰ consistent with a magmatic reservoir, whereas δ18Oquartz for both igneous (avg = 8.4‰, n = 28) and vein (5.7–14.6‰, n = 53) material suggests mixing of a magmatic fluid with an 18O-poor reservoir. Fluid inclusion studies from pre- to postmineralization veins indicate the predominance of a carbonic (±CH4) fluid, with rare aqueous-carbonic (CO2 = 5–98 mol %) and variably saline aqueous types. Whereas the data are considered to best reflect an intrusion-related deposit model, we note that some data, such as the carbonic-rich nature of fluid inclusions and large range in δ18Oquartz, are equivocal in regard to their meaning, and thus further studies are needed to resolve some aspects of this ore system.

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