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Geoscience BC reports on treetop bio-geochemistry; hosts geothermal online open house

by Greg Klein | April 29, 2020

Branching out in a new direction, British Columbia researchers used pruning shears to search for preliminary evidence of metal deposits. Their project further shows that what grows above the ground can indicate what lies below.

Geoscience BC reports treetop bio-geochemistry; hosts geothermal online open house

Tree-top halogens light up prospects
for below-ground resources.
(Photo: Geoscience BC)

A helicopter-borne Geoscience BC crew clipped 421 spruce twigs,needles and cones from 399 trees over a 1,000-square-kilometre region of the central province in 2015, announcing initial results the following year. A new report released April 28 looks at concentrations of the halogen elements fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine, suggesting they “may identify important structures related to potential mineralization that are invisible from the surface,” said researchers Colin Dunn and Dave Heberlein.

“Commonly, halogen elements are strongly enriched in alteration and gangue minerals associated with mineral deposits,” the non-profit society stated. “Over time the halogens move out of these hosts and migrate to the Earth’s surface to accumulate in soils, waters and vegetation. Mapping the distribution of halogen elements in these easy-to-access surface materials may help detect buried ore deposits.”

The results show several areas of relative fluorine enrichment, “notably the pronounced southwest trend in the northern half of the survey area,” the report explains. “This trend follows the northern edge of the Chilcotin Group and coincides with a linear chain of lakes and an aeromagnetic break, suggesting that it could be reflecting a major structure. The other anomalies south of the trend all lie within Chilcotin Group basalts and could either indicate eruptive centres for the basalts or, more intriguingly, potential hydrothermal alteration in the underlying units exposed in windows through the basalt cover.”

Researchers plan to compare the findings with previous Geoscience BC data, along with geophysical and Quaternary maps.

The survey comprises part of Geoscience BC’s Targeting Resources for Exploration and Knowledge (TREK) project, inspired by New Gold’s (TSX:NGD) Blackwater discovery and subsequent reserves of 8.2 million ounces gold and 60.8 million ounces silver in an under-explored region. Since 2013, the society has flown regional geophysics and collected over 8,000 geochemical samples, using the latest technology to provide public domain info.

See the treetop survey project page.

See the project in Geoscience BC’s Earth Science Viewer.

You’re invited: Online open house on B.C. geothermal potential

A province mainly electrified by hydro might hold considerable promise for other renewable energy sources. Geoscience BC and the Geological Survey of Canada have been studying the Mount Meager volcano, about 100 kilometres north of Whistler, for data that can be applied to the wider Garibaldi Volcanic Belt, a region with some of Canada’s best geothermal potential.

Researchers from six universities will share their findings and take questions in a free online open house.

  • When: Thursday, May 7, 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. PST

  • Where: Online using Zoom—register here. The event can be seen later on the Geoscience YouTube channel.

See the geothermal project page.

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