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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gold Occurrences in Greenland

Greenland suffers from a split personality because geologically it is part of North America, but politically it is part of Europe; to be specific Denmark. Greenland geologically is part of the Canadian Shield although in many places it has been reworked. In the southwest corner is found some of the oldest rock on earth is taking the form of gneiss that has been intruded by a younger magma that provided the radiometric date. It is this younger magma from which a date of about 4 billion years ago has been derived. The gneiss itself is much older.

Like the rest of the Canadian Shield, Greenland is blessed with greenstone belts that are always associated with gold.  The east coast of Greenland lies just to the west of the IapetusSuture Zone making it similar to western Connecticut and Eastern New YorkNorthern Ireland, Scotland and the Scandinavian Peninsula split off the eastern coast of Greenland during the period when the Atlantic Ocean was opening making a strip along the east coast similar to the eastern United States.  Some of the rocks in Scotland are identical to the Catskill Mountains in New York composed of what is called the Old Red Sandstone in Scotland.

A geological team at work in Greenland
Photo by Erik

Although much of Greenland hasn’t been explored as it is covered with up to two miles of ice enough has been explored so there are some active gold mines found on the Island.  The island could become the next mining frontier an idea that drew over 150 people to a meeting about the potential for mineral exploration in Greenland in TorontoGreenland itself is one indication about how the soaring prices for metals attracts miners to the out-of-the-way places that under usual conditions are normally overlooked.  Greenland is an extension of the Canadian Shield that contains many potential mineral deposits.  Just one deposit of cryolite sparked the whole aluminum industry during the late 19th Century.

Greenland underwent two episodes of the breakup of a continent as recently as the Eocene about 40 million years ago and displays both extensional terrain and extensive volcanism just the place to look for gold.  Right across the middle of the island there are extensive flows of lava that cover the surface of the land beneath the ice.  One of these breakups formed the Davis Channel between Greenland and Canada the other involved the formation of the Atlantic Ocean that gave birth to Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia.  The ancient suture zone was just off the coast of present day Greenland.

Gold isn’t the only precious commodity found on Greenland; True North Gems has also found extensive deposits of rubies in southwestern Greenland.  There are also many other things then gold that are being mined on the island right now.  Exploration is ongoing for other commodities.  One of these is diamonds, although none have been discovered yet geologically there is no reason why they haven’t, and plenty of reasons why they should.

Although Greenland is off the beaten path it isn’t so far away that it can’t be in what is called in international trade a part of the Hudson – Rhine Axis of Trade.

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