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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gold Occurrences in New Brunswick


Road Map of New Brunswick



Because New Brunswick shares an extremely complex geological past with the New England States further south combined with government policy to develop their mineral resources the province has many mines in both the Bathurst camp in northeastern New Brunswick and at the Mt. Pleasant Camp producing a wide variety of metals ranging from the base metals of copper, lead and zinc to the precious metals of gold and silver finishing with rare metals such as indium. At Mt. Pleasant with sizeable amounts of indium occur with deposits of tin, tungsten and molybdenum. The province also exports sizeable amounts of cadmium, bismuth and antimony to a worldwide market.  In the southwest portion of the province there is extensive exploration for gold ongoing along the Clarence Stream.

By virtue of its diverse geological history New Brunswick has several different ways in which gold can occur.  In northern New Brunswick gold is found in the form of epigenetic formations in quartz veins following major faults and shear zones.  It is also found in gossens caused by the oxidation of volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits of metals including pyrite and other iron sulfides. 

One of the largest faults found in North America passes through Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Quebec just Missing New Brunswick by passing just to the north of the province.  This fault continues south through New England finally vanishing into the Atlantic Ocean south of Staten Island, New York.  Through its length it has several different names starting in New York it is called Cameron’s Line through Connecticut.  At the Connecticut/Massachusetts Border it is renamed the Whitcomb Summit Fault through Vermont where it passes along the west shore of Lake Memphramagog where it enters Quebec where it is renamed the Brampton/Baie Verte Fault.  When the continents divided during the Jurassic its northern end passed through the British Isles, and finally it went into the western edge of Norway where it finally vanishes.  This fault in reality is where North America collided with an island arc that was far out in the Iapetus Ocean that preceded the Atlantic Ocean.  In Greek Iapetus was the father of Atlantis for whom the Atlantic Ocean is named..

Like all suture zones its companion fault is interpreted to be a subduction zone with many metallogenic features that are remnants of the ancient ocean floor.  Most of the mineral deposits are found on the oceanic side of the fault where there are many VMS deposits and altered oceanic crust containing gold and other metals.  The altered oceanic crust is greenstone that is suspected to be the source rock for gold deposits.  The Abitibi Gold Belt of Quebec and Ontario has a similar history, but is much older.

There are two major gold producing areas in New Brunswick when this in the northern part of the province and is related to the Bathurst mining district. The other is along the bay in Fundy in the southern part of the province that is called the Annidale Belt. New Brunswick is located at the northern end of the Appalachian Orogen and shares its convoluted geology with the rest of the Appalachian Oregen.  The convoluted geology found in northern New Brunswick can be traced all the way to Staten Island NY.

Another place where placer gold has been found is in the Carboniferous rocks found in central New Brunswick that laps over into the province from Nova Scotia.  One of the places where you might find gold is in the later conglomerates that are products of erosion that washed down from older mountains.

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