This project by the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) represents the second summer of a two-year field program (2017-18) devoted to the bedrock geology of northern Baffin Island (Saumur et al., 2017). In 2017 fieldwork focussed on the Pond Inlet – Mary River area (Skipton et al., 2017). In the forthcoming summer of 2018, fieldwork will be focussed on the environs of Steensby Inlet and the Barnes Ice Cap.
During the past two decades much of the bedrock geology of Baffin Island has been systematically mapped using modern methods, but important gaps in coverage still remain. This project aims to fill gaps in bedrock mapping coverage in central northern Baffin Island, notably in areas in the vicinity of the Mary River iron mine. In particular, we will target 2.7 billion year old granite-greenstone belts. These rock units host the world-class, high-grade, large tonnage, Mary River iron deposit, and yet they remain poorly understood and under-explored. Fundamental questions surround the extent, geometry, tectonostratigraphy, age and origin of north Baffin’s greenstone belts, and how they correlate with iron-, nickel-and gold-bearing greenstone belts elsewhere in Nunavut, including Melville Peninsula and the mainland Rae craton (i.e., Committee Bay belt). Prospectivity for diamonds is strongly influenced by the antiquity and thickness of granitic crust, as evidenced by Canada’s newest diamond discovery (Chidliak) in Archean basement rocks of south Baffin, and yet, across north Baffin the extent of ancient basement versus young plutons has not been established. Insight from GEM Cumberland and GEM2 Hall-Meta Incognita highlights that significant structural reworking during the ca. 1.8 Ga Trans-Hudson Orogen can remobilize multiple metals, however, the extent and degree of Hudsonian reworking has not been established across much of north Baffin. Collectively, these unknowns constitute a major knowledge gap that needs to be addressed for both economic and scientific considerations, and portions of north Baffin Island represent some of the last major missing tectonic pieces in our understanding of Nunavut geology. Through new bedrock mapping and targeted tectonostratigraphic, geochronological and structural studies, the proposed project will make significant contributions to understanding the geological history of Nunavut and constructing an exploration framework for iron and other types of mineral deposits in northern Baffin Island.
This project proposal pertains to bedrock mapping within NTS map sheets 37F and 38E during the summer of 2018. This proposed fieldwork involves a team of 8 geoscientists conducting daily bedrock mapping traverses on foot in the map area, with helicopter transportation to and from traverse locations. All staff would be based out of a camp located along the Isortoq River, a central location near the border of both NTS sheets. The proposed project will include hired positions for community members, including two Nunavut Arctic College students as bedrock mappers, as well as an assistant cook. Scientific research will be conducted by two post-doctoral fellows, Benoit Saumur and Diane Skipton, and collaborating research scientists at the Geological Survey of Canada. Research will also be conducted by an MSc student from the University of Alberta, and a BSc student from an institution yet to be determined. As in 2017, results of this research will be communicated in publically available government reports, (GSC open files, Summary of Activities of the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office) and colloquia (e.g., Nunavut Mining Symposium, various national and international conferences).
Saumur, B.M., Skipton, D.R. and St-Onge, M.R. (2017) GEM Summary of Activities, North Baffin Activity: Bedrock Mapping in the Pond Inlet/Mary River area, Nunavut, GSC Open File 8304, 14 pp., https://doi.org/10.4095/305957
Skipton, D.R., Saumur, B.M., St-Onge, M.R., Wodicka, N., Bros, E.R., Morin, A., Brouillette, P., Weller, O.M. and Johnston, S.T. (2017). Precambrian bedrock geology of the Pond Inlet – Mary River area, northern Baffin Island, Nunavut, CNGO 2017 Summary of Activities, accepted, in press.