A Review of the Geochronology of the Precambrian of Saskatchewan—Some Clues to Uranium Mineralization

Keith Bell
Dept. of Geology, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Abstract: Assessment of available geochronological information, as well as new whole-rock Rb-Sr data from several granitoid rocks of Saskatchewan, shows a close relationship between magmatic-metamorphic events in the Hudsonian orogen and uranium mineralization. Most uranium deposits lie to the west of the Needle Falls Shear Zone and occur as either: (i) vein-type deposits or (ii) unconformity-type deposits close to the contact between the Athabasca sediments and their basement. At least two metamorphisms have affected the pre-Athabasca rocks: the Kenoran at about 2500 Ma ago, and the more pervasive ‘main’ Hudsonian event at 1740 Ma. A much younger thermal event (perhaps associated with uplift and cooling) at 1540 Ma is also indicated. The post-Kenoran K-Ar dates suggest prolonged thermal activity from about 1900 Ma through to about 1500 Ma ago. Granitoid events at 1870 Ma and 1740 Ma ago are outlined by both U-Pb zircon and Rb-Sr whole-rock isochron data. Whole-rock Rb-Sr data from the unmetamorphosed Athabasca sediments suggest an approximate depositional age of 1450±50 Ma, a figure that is consistent with the age of the underlying Hudsonian basement and the truncation of the sediments by the Cree Lake diabase dyke swarm at about 1200–1300 Ma ago. Although several episodes of uranium deposition have been documented, the main ones seem to have occurred at 1860 Ma (syngenetic uraninite in pegmatites), 1740 Ma (the Beaverlodge vein-type deposits) and between 1300 and 800 Ma (the epigenetic uranium of the unconformity-type deposits). Whereas the two earlier episodes can be correlated with periods of either magmatic or metamorphic activity, the late Proterozoic episodes cannot. The close agreement between the age of the Cree Lake dyke swarm and the late Proterozoic mineralization suggests that at about 1300 Ma ago possible hydrothermal activity from relatively deep-seated fractures may have been responsible for the solution and transportation of the uranium of the unconformity-type deposits. The period 1300 Ma to about 900 Ma, in other parts of the Canadian Shield, was a time of crustal rifting, basic magmatism, carbonatite activity, and intense deformation. Prior to the deposition of the Athabasca sediments uranium was concentrated by Hudsonian magmatic and metamorphic processes whereas subsequently, transportation and intermittent deposition of the unconformity-type deposits were related to fairly long-lived, low-temperature hydrothermal activity.

Mineralogical Magazine; December 1981 v. 44; no. 336; p. 371-378; DOI: 10.1180/minmag.1981.044.336.02
© 1981, The Mineralogical Society
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