Kimberlite and Diamond Indicator Minerals in Northeast British Columbia, Canada - A Reconnaissance Survey
View GeoFile 2005-25 (PDF, 3.4 MB)
Northeast British Columbia is an under-explored portion of the North American continent with respect to diamonds, other gemstones, and non-energy minerals. It is characterized by low relief and has a rapidly developing infrastructure that supports of the oil and gas industry. High-quality diamonds are presently mined within the Slave Craton of the Northwest Territories (Carlson, et al, 1999 and Lockhart et al, 2004). Diamond deposits have also been discovered in the Buffalo Head Terrane in neighbouring Alberta (Eccles, 2004; Hood and McCandless, 2004), approximately 400 kilometres southeast of the Fort Nelson area. Several alluvial diamond occurrences have also been reported in the Northwest Territories and in Alberta (Simandl, 2004). There are reports of diamond occurrences within the British Columbia Alkaline Province (Allan, 1999, 2002; Anonymous, 1994; McCallum, 1994; Northcote, 1983a, b; Pell, 1994; and Roberts, 2002).
Recent age dating (Simandl and Davis, 2005) indicates that Precambrian crystalline basement similar in age to the Buffalo Head Terrane extends farther west than previously expected, supporting the hypothesis that northeast British Columbia may have been underlain by a thick cold lithosphere prior to rifting of the Rodinia Supercontinent. The "diamondiferous root", as described by Haggerty (1986), and Mitchell (1991), may have been destroyed after the diamonds were brought to the surface by kimberlites, lamproites, or other diamond elevators (Simandl, 2004). The results of this heavy mineral reconnaissance/orientation survey, when considered in conjunction with the findings of a previous KIM study (Simandl, et al, 2005), provide support for the use of the diamondiferous mantle root exploration model in Northeast British Columbia.
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