Tianne Groeneveld MSc thesis abstract

Thesis Title: 
Geochemistry and mineralization of the Archean Titan (Roaring River) intrusion, Thunder Bay, Ontario
The 2690 ± 3.2 Ma Titan intrusion is an approximately 7 by 3 km, roughly ovoid, mafic-ultramafic intrusion, located just north of the inferred boundary between the Winnipeg River and Marmion terranes.  Outcrop in the area is relatively sparse, largely due to cover from pervasive glacial till and Proterozoic diabase sills associated with the Midcontinent Rift.  Titan consists of a variety of lithologies, including  eucogabbros, melagabbros, gabbros, and pyroxenites, which are distributed throughout the intrusion.  Both mafic and felsic dikes are observed in outcrop, as are felsic breccias.  Titan consists of a single magma body, with one pulse of magma which has subsequently undergone fractional crystallization within a closed system.  This is supported by smooth linear trends in the major element bivariate plots, with moderate amounts of scatter, and consistent, tight primitive mantle normalized REE trends.  Titan samples have a range of (La/Sm)N from 0.7 to 3.8, a range of (Gd/Yb)N from 2.3 to 7.4, and a range of Nb/Nb* values from 0.02 to 0.47.
Titan likely formed in a supra subduction zone setting, as evidenced by the negative HFSE anomalies.  This is consistent with the regional context of the Winnipeg River and Marmion terranes during this time period (~2.74-2.69 Ga).  Small amounts of crustal material appear to have been incorporated into Titan, as evidenced by εNd values of 0.70 to 1.82, compared to an estimated depleted mantle at 2.7 Ga which would have a εNd value of +3.  The exact source of the contamination can only be speculated due to the similarity in geochemical and εNd values for the surrounding Roaring River complex, and lack of data from the basement rocks in that area.
Sulphides are found ubiquitously throughout the intrusion, though generally at low abundances (~3%).  The most common sulphide is pyrite, often found as very finegrained blebs with a rim of magnetite, whereas larger aggregates of pyrrhotite, chalcopyrite, and pentlandite are much rarer.  Pyrite is considered to be a hydrothermal phase, likely as secondary precipitation. Sulphide isotopes were gathered from pyrite and a smaller amount of chalcopyrite grains, providing δ34S values with a range of -10.02 to +5.41‰ and Δ33S values with a range of -0.26 to +0.1‰.  The sulphur isotope values are consistent with an initial magmatic sulphur phase, responsible for the large aggregates of pyrrhotite, pentlandite, and chalcopyrite, and a later low temperature (< 400 °C) hydrothermal system.  The hydrothermal system is also likely to have oxidizing conditions, causing the preferential mobility of Se over S.
Titan is compared to the nearby Lac des Iles suite, a collection of mafic to ultramafic intrusions within the Marmion terrane, which includes the Lac des Iles Complex and Tib Lake intrusion.  There are broad similarities between Titan and the Lac des Iles suite, particularly in the regional context of the intrusions, general lithology, age, and in tectonic setting.  However, there are key differences.  Titan consists of one
magmatic body, while the Lac des Iles complex consists of several intrusions and Tib Lake has multiple magmatic pulses.  The  environment around the Lac des Iles suite is also more dynamic, with roughly coeval felsic and mafic magmatism.  The Lac des Iles
complex and Tib Lake are interpreted to have assimilated country rock and felsic magmas associated with surrounding tonalite.  In contrast, Titan is intruded into the middle of a felsic complex, but the magmatism is not coeval.  In general, Titan appears to be a much
simpler intrusion, when compared to intrusions of similar size in the Lac des Iles suite. 

Ethan Brand MSc thesis abstract

Thesis Title: 
Effects of a second wood ash application to soil on Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P. and Picea glauca (Moench) voss growth and foliar nutrition and soil chemistry
As the Canadian biomass energy sector grows, so too does its production of by-products such as wood ash from the combustion of wood biomass for energy. Wood ash can be land applied with the goal of increasing the productivity of a site through an increase in soil pH and available nutrients. Most studies have focused on a single ash application to the soil. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of re-applying wood ash on the chemistry of a forest soil and the growth and foliar nutrition of two commercially important tree species (Picea mariana (Mill.) B.S.P. and Picea glauca (Moench) Voss). A low and high carbon wood ash sourced from vibrating power boilers at the Resolute Forest Products facility in Thunder Bay were re-applied in 2019 to plots established in 2012 at the Ministry of Natural Resources, Northwest Science and Technology Center, 25th Side Road. The wood ashes were applied at 0, 1000, and 10 000 kg ha-1 alone and in combination in 5 replicate blocks. Tree height and diameter were measured in the Fall of 2019 and 2020 and soil and foliar samples were collected at the same time for chemical analyses. A second application significantly affected concentrations of soil C, C:N, conductivity, pH, total soil Ca, S, Sr, and exchangeable Ca, K, Mg, Na, and extractable Cu, Mn, and Zn concentrations. Differences attributable to species were observed for soil C concentrations, conductivity and exchangeable K concentrations. Concentrations of soil C, conductivity, exchangeable K and extractable Zn differed between years. Three trends were observed in soil chemistry: 1) low C ash had a greater effect on measured parameters than the high C ash, 2) applying ash at higher rates had a greater effect, and 3) applying low C ash in addition to high C ash had greater impact on soil than when high C ash was applied alone. Foliar and growth response from wood ash re-application were species dependant. Picea marianna (black spruce) showed a negative foliar Mn response and a non-significant but negative height growth response to ash where Picea glauca (white spruce) did not show any effect of ash application. Lower foliar Al and black spruce foliar Mn were observed when higher amounts of ash were applied and when low C ash was applied. Foliar S responded to ash application after the first growing season and low C ash had the greatest effect. Comparing these results to the first ash application in 2012: 1) high C ash had a greater impact on soil chemistry after the second ash application, 2) the concentration of some soil metals (extractable Cu, Zn, and Mn, and total Sr and Ca) increased with the second application, though not to toxic concentrations. This study shows that a repeat ash application to soils can increase concentrations of Ca, K, Mg, and S in soil, reduce the impact of soil acidification, and combat soil C depletion that follows whole tree harvesting, at least in the short term, while having no significant immediate negative effects on black and white spruce growth and foliar nutrition.

Dana Campbell MSc thesis abstact

Thesis Title: 
Distribution and chemistry of kimberlite indicator minerals in the southern Slave Province, NWT
As part of the greater Slave Province geophysical, surficial materials and permafrost study, a Northwest Territories Geological Survey (NTGS) led government-academic-industry research program, this study is intended to identify and interpret indicator mineral glacial
dispersal trains using publicly available mineral chemistry data and discuss the uses of the NTGS kimberlite indicator mineral chemistry database (KIMC) for diamond exploration in the southern Slave Province.
In addition to the database, 21 till samples were collected from the southern Slave Province national topographic system map sheets 075M and 075N during the 2017 field season (17-DECS sample suite).  Kimberlite indicator minerals (KIM) were recovered from the till
samples and selected grains were subsequently analyzed using scanning electron microscopy and laser ablation techniques to identify mineral chemistry that is representative of KIMS in surficial sediment samples in the KIMC for the southern Slave.  Mineral chemistry data collected during this study were evaluated and compared to those published in a database of the Slave Province by the NTGS.  The database was created as a collaborative effort between the NTGS and exploration companies in order to compile an all-encompassing kimberlite indicator mineral database with raw mineral chemistry data.  Mineral chemistry data retrieved from the NTGS database and from analysis of the 17-DECS sample suite were used to interpret kimberlite potential of the region. Ilmenite, chromite, Cr-diopside, olivine, and garnet grains in surficial sediment samples were assessed in terms of their chemistry and areal distribution in the Slave Province.  The raw mineral chemistry data for garnets were classified according to their G-numbers and chromite, ilmenite, olivine, and Cr-diopside were classified as kimberlitic or non-kimberlitic. Data from indicator minerals in till samples collected during this study were classified using the same criteria. 
Indicator minerals distribution patterns were mapped based on the classification of individual mineral grains.  These maps show disparity in the amount of data contained in the database and the variation in kimberlite indicator mineral dispersal train direction, length, and composition between the north and south Slave.  Kimberlite indicator mineral dispersal trains in the southern Slave Province are disjointed with highly variable indicator concentrations per sample location, and trend approximately westward.  These trains are near monomineralic, often exclusively consisting of garnet.  Trains in the northern Slave Province are more consistent in concentration (concentration increases with increasing distance down ice) and trend northwest and west.  These trains have greater variety of kimberlitic mineral species.  The direction, length, and composition of the trains reflects glacial processes (erosion, entrainment, transportation, deposition), permafrost conditions, and the nature of the source kimberlites.  Of the kimberlite indicator minerals identified, garnet was the most abundant and informative mineral recovered from surficial sediment samples in the southern Slave Province.  Overall, there was little variation in abundance of garnet G-number classes which could not be contributed to variations in sample density.  However, garnet grains recovered from till samples in the southern Slave Province have lower sodium concentrations than till samples in the northern Slave.  It has been proposed that the concentration of sodium in certain garnets is indicative of kimberlite diamond potential.  Sodium concentrations of the southern Slave Province are below the diamond indicator threshold (Na2O>0.07%).  Although this may be indicative of a lower diamond potential, it may also be a result of differing geochemical compositions of the subcontinental lithospheric mantle.

Rebecca Price MSc thesis abstract

Thesis Title: 
Mineralogy and petrology of the Good Hope carbonatite complex, Marathon, Ontario
Rebecca Lynne

The Good Hope carbonatite is located northwest of Marathon, Ontario (49° 02’ N, 86°43’ W). It occurs along the northwest margin of the Prairie Lake complex. The objectives of this research are to characterize the carbonate and other minerals of the Good Hope carbonatite, use mineral compositions and textural associations to discuss the petrogenesis, and compare the mineralogy of the Good Hope and Prairie Lake carbonatites to assess potential relationships.

The major rock-forming minerals in the Good Hope carbonatite are calcite, ferroan dolomite, and apatite. The apatite occurs predominantly as elongated aggregates and clasts that define heterogeneous banding within the carbonatite. Syenite xenoliths are centimeter scale, entrained within the carbonatite, composed of K-feldspar, biotite-phlogopite, magnesio-arfvedsonite, aegirine, quartz, and carbonate. The minor minerals within the carbonatite include dolomite, K-feldspar, quartz, chlorite, magnetite, barite, biotite – phlogopite, magnesio-arfvedsonite, aegirine, pyrochlore, albite, and fluorite. The accessory minerals include pyrite, synchysite-(Ce), rutile, siderite, strontianite, thorite, parisite-(Ce), bastnaesite-(Ce), burbankite, and zircon.

The sequence of formation began with the crystallization of the syenite from an unknown alkaline parent magma, which was followed by the first pulse of carbonatitic magma that disaggregated and entrapped the syenite xenoliths and began crystallizing the Ca-Na pyrochlore and apatite. Subsequent evolution of the initial carbonatitic magma resulted in the alteration of the pyrochlore as well as the dissolution-reprecipitation of the apatite. The second pulse of carbonatitic magma resulted in the resumption of magmatic crystallization of the Ca-Na pyrochlore and apatite together with the crystallization of the alkaline silicates, aegirine and magnesio-arfvedsonite. The apatite + pyrochlore ± magnesio-arfvedsonite accumulate and are subsequently disaggregated with the clasts being deformed by turbulent flow of the third carbonatitic magma pulse. Groundmass calcite and dolomite with increasingly Fe-rich compositions were formed as crystallization progressed. The system becomes increasingly influenced by hydrothermal and carbothermal processes with the crystallization of the late ferroan dolomite with associated late-hydrothermal apatite ± pyrochlore. The precipitation of the hydrothermal phases and Fe-overgrowths are the last stages of crystallization.

The close spatial association with the Prairie Lake carbonatite complex and the crystallization sequence consistent with other alkaline rock-carbonatite complexes may support a genetic association. However, the mineralogy of Good Hope is distinctly different from that of Prairie Lake and as yet there is insufficient mineralogical or geological evidence to permit formulation of any simple genetic relationships between the two complexes. 



Bailey Drover MSc thesis abstract

Thesis Title: 
A record of transpression-related brittle-ductile deformation and associated alteration within granitoid plutons of the Wabigoon subprovince, Superior Province

The Wabigoon subprovince is a 900 km long by 150 km wide Archean-aged granite greenstone belt. Large, synvolcanic batholiths with smaller late to post-tectonic stocks cut the numerous greenstone belts of the subprovince. One of the post-tectonic stocks is the Taylor Lake Stock, located within the western Wabigoon subprovince with a late Archean crystallization age that has been interpreted to infer the cessation of regional tectonics in the area. However, granitoids are highly competent and dry rocks that are difficult to deform, leading them to appear undeformed/unmetamorphosed in the field even though they may have undergone ductile deformation, brittle deformation and associated hydrothermal/ metasomatic alteration. In this study, field mapping and sampling, petrographic analysis, mineralogical compositional analysis, stable isotope geochemistry and cathodoluminescence imaging of twelve granitoid plutons (including the Taylor Lake Stock) across the subprovince are used to constrain the relationship between the brittle deformation, ductile deformation and alteration of the plutons to provide insight into the tectonic history of the Wabigoon subprovince.

The twelve plutons record chlorite and/or epidote infilled steeply dipping shear fractures with sub-horizontal lineations that indicate an oblique strike-slip displacement, characteristic of transpression. The strike of the infilled shear fractures varies across the individual plutons, possibly as a result of non-coaxial strain in which the rigid and competent granitoid bodies have undergone a component of rigid body rotation, resulting in a shifting trend of the maximum elongation direction. Evidence for this stems from the shape of the Ottertail pluton in the western Wabigoon subprovince that resembles a porphyroclast entrained within a dextral shear zone. Adjacent to the chlorite and/or epidote infilled shear fractures, wall-rock alteration common to all plutons includes white mica (mostly phengite) ± epidote alteration of the feldspar and chloritization of biotite. Epidote, chlorite and sphene are also commonly seen along microfractures within the host rock. Alteration of the plutons is noted to be lesser in the low strain areas of the plutons where brittle deformation is not as pervasive. Cathodoluminescence imaging of the feldspars from the various strain zones supports lower degrees of alteration in lower strain zones, as feldspars are more consistent with their color hues in the lowest strain samples.

Each of the twelve plutons also record solid-state deformation microstructures within quartz and feldspar, demonstrating dislocation creep was active in both mineral phases. As dislocation creep does not become an effective process within feldspar until temperatures reach ⁓450°C, these solid-state deformation microstructures provide evidence for amphibolite facies metamorphism of the plutons. Ductilely overprinted quartz veins and the presence of chlorite and/or epidote shear fractures within shear zones demonstrates brittle deformation during regional ductile deformation and associated alteration, which is seen in six of the plutons studied (Sabaskong batholith, Dryberry batholith, Revell batholith, Ottertail pluton, Irene-Eltrut batholithic complex and the Croll Lake Stock), providing evidence that regional-scale transpression consisted of coeval brittle-ductile deformation and associated alteration within the granitoid plutons. The δDfluid and δ18Ofluid values of the hydrothermal fluid calculated from measured δD and δ18O values of chlorite infilled shear fractures from six samples in two plutons range from -30 to -45‰ and 5.6 to 7.1‰, respectively, recording a metamorphic water signature that likely stems from the devolatilization of the surrounding host greenstone during regional Archean metamorphism.

XRD qualitative mineral phase analysis of two chlorite infilled shear fractures also shows the presence of the illite 2M1 polytype associated with the vein, suggesting that some of the hydrothermal fluid circulation occurred at temperatures within the realm of the illite 2M1 stability field (lower than roughly 300°C). This coupled with the presence of a chlorite infilled cataclasite, which represents a lower temperature brittle feature, suggests that at least a component of the brittle deformation and associated hydrothermal fluid flow occurred post peak metamorphism, likely into exhumation of the granitoid plutons.

Furthermore, the alteration and deformation of the twelve plutons studied demonstrates evidence for coeval brittle-ductile deformation and associated hydrothermal fluid flow in the amphibolite facies of metamorphism, with brittle fracturing and alteration continuing into exhumation. The late Archean crystallization age date from the Taylor Lake Stock should not be used to mark the cessation of regional tectonics within the western Wabigoon subprovince.


Sharanya Manickam HBSc Thesis Abstract

Thesis Title: 
Sedimentology and Geochemistry of carbonate layers in the Paleoproterozoic Rove Formation, Superior Province
Understanding the formation of the cone-in-cone structures has been a topic of interest for nearly 2 centuries. The cone-in-cone laminae of the carbonate layers in the Paleoproterozoic Rove formation, of the Superior Province, is no exception to the ambiguous nature of their genesis. However, by combining the geochemical analysis of these structures and the associated elongate crystal fans present in the area of study, the depositional setting and physical processes of sedimentation can be inferred. Fourteen samples from the Quarry Site and 6 samples from the Arrow River location of the Thunder Bay region of Ontario, which are a part of the Rove formation, were investigated using this approach. The Rove formation consists of graywacke, argillite, quartzite, carbonate, and locally intraformational conglomerate. The cone-in-cone structures were present in a calcite-rich layer in the Quarry Site and in a carbonate concretion in the Arrow River location. Geochemical analysis of these structures indicate the presence of clay and mud between each of the cones and the cones themselves are made of carbonate. δC13 and δO18 values indicate the influence of seawater in the formation of the carbonate layer associated with the cone-in-cone structures. It is enriched to nearly 4 ± 0.1‰V-PDB when compared to the rest of the samples with a value of - 5 ± 0.1‰V-PDB. The rare earth element patterns provide further evidence for the influence of sea water based on the strong Eu* anomaly visible throughout all the samples. The ratios of iron to manganese provide proof of the influence of pore water as a result of a slight enrichment along the same carbonate layer containing the cone in-cone structures. The diagenetic environment in which these structures were formed is related to the presence of both pore fluid and sea water which is in accordance with the data collected.

Ragi Ramesh HBSc Thesis Abstract

Thesis Title: 
Exploring the primary mineralogy of Archean calcite crystal fans

Archean precipitates such as crystal fans can be used to investigate the difference between Archean ocean and modern-day seawater chemistry. The globose radiating masses of crystal fans in the Hogarth Member of Steep Rock, the crystal fan fabric in the Elbow Point member of Steep Rock, and the vertically stacked acicular crystal fans from Red Lake carbonates were included in this study. These vertical crystals which grew off the substrates precipitating from anoxic Archean seawater are suggested to be primarily aragonite or gypsum. By analyzing Sr and Ba in the Steep Rock and Red Lake samples and comparing them with gathered literature data of old and modern-day carbonates, the primary mineralogy of these crystal fans is investigated. Sr and Ba show preferential substitution in aragonite, calcite and dolomite with high preservation of Sr concentrations in aragonite. Steep Rock fans have significantly higher Sr concentrations relative to older and dolomitized Red Lake fans representing tidal flats, while the Red Lake atikokania showed a relatively higher Sr value representative of deeper waters. Dolomite samples from both study areas showed a notable distinction in their Sr value from calcite samples. However, Sr concentrations for Steep Rock and Red Lake are significantly lower when compared to modern aragonites. This result concurs with the Sr loss that happens during recrystallization over time, i.e., as the mineral transforms from aragonite to calcite to dolomite. The primary mineralogy of these crystal fans is inconclusive due to this significant Sr loss, however, it is most likely that they were carbonates than gypsum or anhydrite.

Nina Buchanan HBSc Thesis Abstract

Thesis Title: 
Mineralogy and Petrology of the Saturday Night Intrusion, NW Ontario, Canada
The Saturday Night Intrusion (SNI) was identified due to its remnantly polarized magnetic anomaly, similar to mafic-ultramafic intrusions in the area related to the early/plateau stage of the Midcontinent Rift (MCR). A single hole (SN-16-001) was drilled through the SNI to a depth of 601m. Different units of the SNI were identified: leucogabbro, gabbro, peridotite, and melagabbro/gabbro. This study provides the first report of the mineralogy and petrology of the SNI.
Leucogabbro is the dominant lithology within the SNI composed of medium-grained mesocumulate plagioclase, interstitial quartz, and hornblende altered to chlorite and associated fine-grained clay alteration. The gabbro unit is mainly medium-grained orthocumulate
clinopyroxne with interstitial plagioclase and olivine altered to chlorite and associated finegrained clay alteration. The peridotite is dominantly mesocumulate olivine pseudomorphed into serpentine, talc, calcite and magnetite with interstitial clinopyroxene, orthopyroxene and plagioclase. Melagabbro/gabbro is the basal unit, dominantly composed of medium-grained anhedral/subhedral plagioclase with clinopyroxene altered to chlorite. The SNI was emplaced within the Trout Lake granites of the Dog Lake Granitoid Chain. Two phases of the Trout Lake granite are present; the first phase is dominantly plagioclase, orthoclase, and biotite altered to chlorite present within the hanging wall; and, the second phase is dominantly plagioclase, quartz, chlorite, with microcline megacrysts found in the footwall. An important aspect of the SNI and surrounding Trout Lake granites is the extensive hydrothermal alteration. The alteration assemblage consists of chlorite, epidote, calcite, clay and iron oxide staining. 
The SNI is a mafic-ultramafic intrusion related to the early/plateau stage of the MCR. The majority of the Saturday Night Intrusion has a trace element and REE geochemical signature of enriched LREE compared to depleted HREE, enriched Th, and depleted Nb. Depleted HREE signature is indicative of a partial melt from depth. Enriched Th and depleted Nb is characteristic of crustal contamination. A source of the crustal contamination may be the Trout Lake granites. The magma source of the SNI is between N-MORB and OIB with some degree of crustal contamination. The trace element and REE geochemical trends are similar to other maficultramafic intrusions related to the early/plateau phase of the MCR.

Blaize Briggs HBSc Thesis Abstract

Thesis Title: 
Quetico-Wabigoon Subprovince Boundary in the Superior Province North of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
Blaize A.

The boundary zone between the Quetico and Wabigoon subprovinces is a complex zone of deformation and metamorphism that is marked by a fault, change in metamorphic grade and lithology. The Quetico-Wabigoon subprovince boundary zone is exposed along Highway 527 within a roughly 23km stretch of highway. At the south end of this zone the DeCourcey Lake outcrop is a strongly foliated, mylonitic rock containing quartz, feldspar, garnet, sillimanite, muscovite, and biotite with pegmatites and boudinaged quartz veins and is classified as part of the Quetico subprovince. The north end of the zone is marked by a weakly foliated conglomerate that displays primary sedimentary textures and is classified as part of the Wabigoon subprovince. Catacalsis was discovered 9.8km north of the DeCourcey Lake outcrop and marks a sharp change between the high-grade amphibolite to granulite facies Quetico rock to the south and sub-greenschist to greenschist facies Wabigoon rock to the north. This cataclasis is evidence for a fault that has not been recorded in previous studies. The fault is mapped parallel to the foliation of the cataclasite. This fault is interpreted to be a boundary fault marking the boundary at this location between the Quetico and Wabigoon subprovince.

Conner Arts HBSc Thesis Abstract

Thesis Title: 
Depositional Processes of Massive Sandstone Layers in the Sub-Aqueous Portion of the 1.4Ga Sibley Group Delta, Northwestern Ontario

This research was focused on constructing a depositional model for the thick, massive sandstone layers present in the Pass Lake and Outan Island Formations of the 1.4Ga Sibley Group Delta, east of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Massive sandstone beds are not typically deposited in a distributary-mouth bar environment and are anomalous in this instance. To develop a depositional model, field mapping and core logging was conducted, and thin sections of samples were used to ascertain grain orientation in the massive sandstone. The results were compared to established literature on sediment gravity flows and prevegetated delta environments in order to discern the nature of the depositional mechanisms that resulted in the formation of the thick massive sandstone layers. It is likely that these layers were deposited by high-energy flood events that created turbulent flows of sediment and water, ranging from high density to moderate density. These flows would have deposited the sediment rapidly from suspension and consolidated quickly, creating largely ungraded deposits with poorly oriented grains. Understanding the Sibley Group massive sandstone may assist in identifying other types of flow deposits in both Precambrian and extraterrestrial environments.