Copper-gold occurrences in the Palaeoproterozoic Inglefield mobile belt, northwest Greenland: a new mineralisation style?

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Inglefield Land in northwest Greenland is an ice-free 7000 km2 region underlain by the Palaeoproterozoic Inglefield mobile belt, composed of quartzo-feldspathic gneisses, meta-igneous and supracrustal rocks. These rocks are unconformably overlain by an unmetamorphosed cover of sedimentary and igneous rocks of the Mesoproterozoic Thule Basin and the Lower Palaeozoic Franklinian Basin. Mineralisation in Inglefield Land is characterised by a copper-gold metal association that can be classified in terms of the hosting rocks, namely: garnet-sillimanite paragneiss-hosted, orthogneiss-hosted and mafic-ultramafic-hosted. The paragneiss-hosted mineralisation, the topic of this paper, is essentially confined within a NE-trending structural corridor and consists of bands of sulphide±graphite-bearing, hydrothermally altered, quartzo-feldspathic gneiss, called "rust zones". These are commonly parallel to the paragneiss main foliation, suggesting a close relationship. The rust zones have strike lengths from a few metres to more than 5 km, and widths ranging from a few centimetres to 200 m. Sulphides mainly include pyrrhotite, pyrite and chalcopyrite. The sulphides form disseminations, up to 30% by volume, but in places they form massive pods or lenses up to 20-30 m, and about 0.1-0.5 m wide. Graphite contents are up to 5 vol.%. Rust zones typically consist of a quartz-plagioclase mosaic associated with a late generation of red-brown biotite, sericite, chlorite and epidote. Mylonitic or cataclastic textures are locally recognisable. XRD analyses of graphite indicate temperatures of between 650 and 700 °C. Sulphur isotope analyses show δ34S values ranging from -6.2xto + 9.3x. An ore genesis model is proposed in which the Palaeoproterozoic precursor sandstone-carbonaceous shale succession is polydeformed and polymetamorphosed to granulite facies quartzo-feldspathic and pelitic gneisses, with transposition of layering to axial plane of folds, followed by ductile shearing and mylonitisation, from which future rust zones were derived. The mylonitic zones were infiltrated by fluids, whose origin can be ascribed to deep-penetrating surface waters and/or external brines. In our ore genesis model, we envisage that brines derived from the overlying Lower Palaeozoic Franklinian succession infiltrated the basement into the structural channels provided by the shear/mylonitic zones. At the regional scale, this infiltration was facilitated by a NE-trending corridor, postulated to be a deep structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-249
Number of pages25
JournalOre Geology Reviews
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003


  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Greenland
  • Inglefield mobile belt
  • Rust zones

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


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