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Metallogenic and tectonic significance of oxygen isotope data and whole-rock potassium-argon ages of the Nikolai Greenstone, McCarthy Quadrangle, Alaska

Open-File Report 80-2019

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Abstract

The Middle and (or) Late Triassic Nikolai Greenstone, part of the allochthonous terrane of Wrangellia, is typically altered and locally metamorphosed to prehnite-pumpellyite facies with chlorite and epidote as the most common secondary minerals. Intrinsic copper content averages 155 ppm, and two types of concentrations of copper in the Nikolai are common: (1) native copper fillings of amygdules and rubble zones typically near flow tops, and (2) veins and thin replacement zones that contain native copper and copper-iron sulfides in quartz-epidote or calcite gangue in faults and fractures. Oxygen isotope data from quartz and epidote from three copperbearing veins yield calculated ore fluid temperatures of approximately 200°C and 6180 of approximately +1 per mil in agreement with a metamorphicsegregation origin of these deposits, as suggested by Sinclair (1977).

Seven K-Ar ages of chloritized greenstone, including those adjacent to veins fall on an initial argon diagram with a zero intercept and a slope which yields an isochron age of 112 + 11 m.y. The ages define a Cretaceous thermalmetamorphic episode which is responsible for alteration and mineralization. The episode is younger than a major Jurassic progeny, accompanied by granitic intrusion, in the area, and appears to be unaffected by minor granitic intrusion in the middle to late Tertiary. We believe the Cretaceous event is related to accretion of Wrangellia to its present relative position in North America. This age of accretion agrees with stratigraphic and structural evidence cited by other workers. 

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Metallogenic and tectonic significance of oxygen isotope data and whole-rock potassium-argon ages of the Nikolai Greenstone, McCarthy Quadrangle, Alaska
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
80-2019
Year Published:
1980
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Description:
ii, 29 p.
Country:
United States
State:
Alaska
Other Geospatial:
McCarthy Quadrangle