A reconnaissance geochemical survey was conducted in the southern Killik River quadrangle, central Brooks Range, northern Alaska. The Brooks Range lies within the zone of continuous permafrost which may partially inhibit chemical weathering and oxidation. The minus 30-mesh and nonmagnetic heavy-mineral concentrate fractions of sediment samples were chosen as the sample media for the survey so that mechanical rather than chemical dispersion patterns would be enhanced. A total of 263 sites were sampled within the southern half of the Killik River quadrangle at an average sample density of approximately one sample per 12 km2. All samples were submitted for multi-element analyses. In the western and central Brooks Range, several known sediment-hosted Zn-Pb-Ag(-Ba) deposits occur within a belt of Paleozoic rocks of the Endicott Mountains allochthon. Exploration for this type of deposit in the Brook Range is difficult, due to the inherently high background values for Ba, Zn and Pb in shale and the common occurrence of metamorphic quartz-calcite veins, many of which contain traces of sulfide minerals. Stream sediments derived from these sources produce numerous geochemical anomalies which are not necessarily associated with significant mineralization. R-mode factor analysis provides a means of distinguishing between element associations related to lithology and those related to possible mineralization. Factor analysis applied to the multi-element data from the southern Killik River quadrangle resulted in the discovery of two additional Zn-Pb-Ag mineral occurrences of considerable areal extent which are 80-100 km east of any previously known deposit. These have been informally named the Kady and Vidlee. Several lithogeochemical element associations, or factors, and three factors which represent sulfide mineralization were identified: Ag-Pb-Zn (galena and sphalerite) and Fe-Ni-Co-Cu (pyrite ?? chalcopyrite) in the concentrate samples and Cd-Zn-Pb-As-Mn in the sediment samples. The distribution of high scores for each individual mineralization factor outlined several relatively large (200-250 km2) geochemically favorable areas. When the distribution of high scores for all three factors were superimposed, samples characterized by high scores for one or both of the concentrate mineralization factors and the mineralization factor in sediments define basin areas of approximately 48 and 64 km2 surrounding Kady and Vidlee, respectively. ?? 1992.
Additional publication details
Reconnaissance exploration geochemistry in the central Brooks Range, northern Alaska: Implications for exploration of sediment-hosted zinc-lead-silver deposits