New 1:63,360-scale geologic mapping of the Big Delta B-2 quadrangle provides important data on the structural setting and age of geologic units, as well as on the timing of gold mineralization plutonism within the Yukon-Tanana Upland of east-central Alaska. Gold exploration has remained active throughout the region in response to the discovery of the Pogo gold deposit, which lies within the northwestern part of the quadrangle near the south bank of the Goodpaster River. Geologic mapping and associated geochronological and geochemical studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Mining and Water Management, provide baseline data to help understand the regional geologic framework. Teck Cominco Limited geologists have provided the geologic mapping for the area that overlies the Pogo gold deposit as well as logistical support, which has lead to a much improved and informative product.
The Yukon-Tanana Upland lies within the Tintina province in Alaska and consists of Paleozoic and possibly older(?) supracrustal rocks intruded by Paleozoic (Devonian to Mississippian) and Cretaceous plutons. The oldest rocks in the Big Delta B-2 quadrangle are Paleozoic gneisses of both plutonic and sedimentary origin. Paleozoic deformation, potentially associated with plutonism, was obscured by intense Mesozoic deformation and metamorphism. At least some of the rocks in the quadrangle underwent tectonism during the Middle Jurassic (about 188 Ma), and were subsequently deformed in an Early Cretaceous contractional event between about 130 and 116 Ma. New U-Pb SHRIMP data presented here on zircons from the Paleozoic biotite gneisses record inherited cores that range from 363 Ma to about 2,130 Ma and have rims of euhedral Early Cretaceous metamorphic overgrowths (116 +/- 4 Ma), interpreted to record recrystallization during Cretaceous west-northwest-directed thrusting and folding. U-Pb SHRIMP dating of monazite from a Paleozoic gneiss sample yields an age of 112 +/- 2 Ma; the monazite presumably grew during the waning stages of the intense regional Cretaceous ductile deformation. The Cretaceous ductile deformation was followed closely by granite plutonism and gold mineralization. The main pulse of gold mineralization is temporally and spatially associated with the Cretaceous granitic dikes and plutons and occurred during regional uplift and extension.