The Tectonic, Magmatic and Mineralization History of the Sudbury Structure

Exploration & Mining Geology, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1997
The Sudbury Structure consists of three major components: 1) the Sudbury Basin; 2) the Sudbury Igneous Complex which surrounds the basin as an elliptical collar; and 3) an outer zone of shatter-coned and intensely brecciated footwall rocks. Although the Sudbury Event which formed the structure may be unique, the area has, in fact, been shaped by a series of tectonic, magmatic and mineralization events which can be considered in terms of two Wilson cycles of continental extension and closure. The first cycle, from 2500 to 1700 Ma, included the following events: doming (uplift of Levack Gneiss Complex); NE-SW extension (Matachewan dikes); N-S to NW-SE rifting (faults, mafic intrusions, sedimentation, and Ni-Cu-PGE and U mineralization); NW-SE extension (Nipissing diabase, and Ni-Cu-PGE, Ag, Co mineralization); and NW-SE and NE-SW closure (Penokean Orogeny, 1900 to 1700 Ma) with superimposed meteorite impact (1850 Ma, Ni-Cu- PGE, Zn-Cu-Pb deposits). The second cycle, from 1700 to 1000 Ma, included: N-S extension (alkali metasomatism, Au); N-S extension (hornblende diabase dikes along the Murray fault set); NNESSW extension (olivine diabase dikes); NE-SW extension (Fecunis Lake fault set); and NW-SE closure (Grenvillian Orogeny).
The rich and diverse Ni-Cu-PGE and subordinate Zn-Pb-Cu and Au mineralization of the Sudbury region is related to endogenic and impact-triggered crustal extension and magmatism. The Sudbury Structure apparently was the site of a triple junction or hot-spot. The Sudbury ores, although located within an impact structure, are analogous in terms of age and tectonic setting to Ni-Cu-PGE and Zn-Pb-Cu ores elsewhere in the world. Meteorite impact accentuated on-going ore forming processes and magmatism at Sudbury.
Keywords: Mineralization, Sudbury structure, Tectonic events, Magmatic events
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