Field Trips

Field trip registration deadline is May 1.

The following field trips are being planned for Whitehorse 2016:

SED-EXhumed: Catch a rare glimpse into the belly of the Faro Mine Complex, one of Canada’s most prolific past-producers of lead and zinc

May 30-31st, 2016

Space Available

Dustin Rainey, Yukon Government (dustin.rainey@gov.yk.ca)
Lee Pigage, retired from Yukon Geological Survey (lcpigage@klondiker.com)

This two day trip to Faro focuses on the geology of the Anvil Range and remediation of the Faro Mine Complex, which is Canada’s largest Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) contaminated mine site. The geology portion of the trip will discuss the stratigraphy and structure of the Anvil pyritic massive sulphide deposits and their enclosing host rocks. The Cambrian-Ordovician Anvil deposits are situated in Selwyn basin, a lower Paleozoic marine shale basin southwest of carbonate platform rocks of northwest Laurentia.

Open pit mining of these SEDEX (Pb-Zn-Ag+/-Au) deposits occurred from 1969 through 1997, with some interruptions. The mine was abandoned in 1998 and is being jointly managed by Yukon Government and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). Open pit mining and on-site milling operations produced approximately 400 million tonnes of potentially acid-generating waste rock and tailings. Protecting the surrounding aquatic and terrestrial environment from these wastes and associated heavy metal-bearing seepage presents significant challenges in a mountainous, northern environment. Current plans envisage decades of remedial works followed by perpetual capture and treatment of mine-impacted waters.

Participants will begin the trip in Whitehorse the morning of Monday May 30th by examining drill core at the Bostock Core library, followed by afternoon travel by vehicle to the town of Faro. Tuesday May 31st will be spent touring the Faro Mine Complex followed by the drive back to Whitehorse. Steel-toed footwear and long pants/shirts are required to access the FMC. Other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, high-visibility vests and protective eyewear will be provided. Temperatures at the FMC at this time of year may range from near-freezing to 20 degrees Centrigrade (possibly in the same day). Cost will include meals, transportation, and accommodation; maximum capacity 20 people.

From veins to valleys: The history of Klondike Gold

May 28 – 31st, 2016 This field trip is now full.  To add your name to the waitlist, please contact Rosie Cobbet (rosie.cobbett@gov.yk.ca).

Leaders: Jim Mortensen, University of British Columbia (jmortensen@eos.ubc.ca)

Jeff Bond, Yukon Geological Survey (jeff.bond@gov.yk.ca)

Grant Zazula, Yukon Palaeontology (grant.zazula@gov.yk.ca)

What is the bedrock geology of the Klondike? How did the Klondike landscape evolve through time, and how has this contributed to the rich gold placer deposits? Is the “Mother Lode” gone? How rich were the pay streaks? Are there multiple sources for the gold? Where do they find the Ice Age fossils? These are some of the many questions we will address on the Klondike field trip. The goal of the “veins to valleys” field trip is to introduce participants to the geology, structural evolution, geochemistry, placer deposits and Pleistocene palaeontology of the northern and central Klondike District. The route will take you into some of the most famous gold producing drainages in the world including Bonanza and Hunker creeks while exploring fascinating geology and modern placer mining methods. In the evenings we will stay in Dawson City and give you a taste of gold rush culture under the midnight sun. Sign up early and stake your claim on this rare field trip to the Klondike!

Approximate Itinerary May 28th: Depart Whitehorse at 9am and drive to Dawson City via the Klondike Highway. We will include geological and site seeing stops enroute to the Klondike. May 29th: Klondike field trip Day 1 May 30th: Klondike field trip Day 2 May 31st: Depart Dawson City at 11 am and drive back to Whitehorse (arriving at 5 pm)

Tour of the Keno Hill Mining District

June 4-6, 2016 This field trip is now full.  To add your name to the waitlist, please contact Rosie Cobbet (rosie.cobbett@gov.yk.ca).

Leader: Al McOnie, VP Exploration, Alexco Resource Corp. (almconie@alexcoresource.com)

A day will be spent at Keno Hill, located 330 kilometers north of Whitehorse in one of the world’s highest-grade silver mineralized districts. To the extent that will be possible due to remaining snow cover in early June, field stops will examine host rock stratigraphy and mine sites in the district, view mineralized drill core samples and visit the historic community of Keno City. District wide, the mineralization is developed in dominantly steep southeasterly dipping vein-filled faults in Devono-Mississippian quartzite of the Keno Hill Quartzite. Prior to development of the vein-faults, at least one and possibly two phases of isoclinal folding produced dismembered macroscopic isoclines that accompanied a period of chlorite zone regional metamorphism. The veins are offset by post-mineralization deformation including northwest striking high angle cross faults, low angle faults and bedding faults. Between 1913 and 1989 the Keno Hill Silver District produced more than 214 million ounces of silver from over 4.8 million tonnes of ore. There are over 35 mine sites that contained some of the richest Ag-Pb-Zn vein deposits in the world. At an average grade of 44 ounces per tonne (oz/t) silver, 6.7% lead and 4.1% zinc it the second-largest historical silver producer in Canada and has produced more wealth than the Klondike Goldfields. It provided the backbone of the Yukon economy from the 1920’s until the 1960’s and at one time supported up to 15% of the Territories’ population. Although the historic mines are not generally accessible, there will be opportunities to review the historic mining locations and activities. The Bellekeno mine that commenced production at the beginning of 2011 was Canada’s only operating primary silver mine and until 2013 produced 5.2 Moz silver at average grade of 25 oz/t. The mining operation is currently in interim suspension, but two new important exploration discoveries at Flame & Moth and Bermingham, as well as three other mines located near the existing mill that are well into development, will provide the basis for renewed production as economic conditions improve.

History of the Whitehorse Copper Belt

May 31, 2016
This field trip is now full.  To add your name to the waitlist, please contact Rosie Cobbet (rosie.cobbett@gov.yk.ca).

Leaders: Dave Tenney, former Cheif Geologist at Whitehorse Copper Mines
Daniele Heon

Please join us on a one-day field trip that will showcase the geology, the deposits and the history of the Whitehorse Copper Belt. The tour will be led by Dave Tenney, the former Chief Geologist at Whitehorse Copper Mines. The 30 km-long belt, located a few kilometres from downtown Whitehorse, hosts a number of mineralized occurrences and historic mine sites. Copper-gold-magnetite and calc-silicate skarns form at the contact between a Cretaceous granodiorite and an arc-related clastic and calcareous sedimentary package of the upper Triassic Aksala Formation, Lewes River Group.

The first discoveries were made during the stampede to the Klondike between 1897 and 1899; many of these deposits were mined intermittently during a first phase of mining until 1920. A modern phase of exploration and mining took place between 1967 and 1982. Mining began with open pits and ended underground resulting in a total production of approximately 123 000 tonnes of copper, 90 tonnes of silver and 7 tonnes of gold.

The trip will include stops at heritage sites where historical mine workings give you a glimpse into the past. Visits to more modern mining and exploration sites are sure to peak your interest where uncommon skarn minerals such as thulite, valleriite and yellow serpentine may be found.

Finish up the day by saddling up to the local pub at Raven’s Ridge!

VMS and Orogenic Gold deposits of the Chatham Strait, southeast Alaska

June 4-8, 2016
This field trip is now full.  To add your name to the waitlist, please contact Rosie Cobbet (rosie.cobbett@gov.yk.ca).

Leaders: Patrick Sack, Yukon Geological Survey (patrick.sack@gov.yk.ca)
Nathan Steeves, University of Tasmania  (nathan.steeves@utas.edu.au)
Bruce Gemmell, University of Tasmania (bruce.gemmell@utas.edu.au)
Sue Karl, U.S. Geological Survey (skarl@usgs.gov)

This five day field trip will expose participants to the best mineral deposits in southeast Alaska and is bookended by two days of highway stops that will put the deposits in a regional geological context. The focus will be split between volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits of the Late Triassic Alexander metallogenic belt and orogenic gold deposits of the Early Tertiary Juneau gold belt.

Day 1 will be the modern-day equivalent of the ‘Trail of 1898’ in reverse, driving south from Whitehorse to Skagway, with stops through the Coast Plutonic Complex, followed by a ferry to Juneau.

Days 2 and 3 will visit the producing Greens Creek and Kensington underground mines. Greens Creek is an enigmatic, 25 Mt Au- and Ag-rich polymetallic VMS deposit hosted by black argillite immediately above a >100Ma unconformity. Kensington is a 1.5 Moz orogenic gold deposit that was first mined in the late 1800’s, during our tour of this operating mine we will visit historic workings to see what the old timers were up against.

Day 4 will include travel by ferry from Juneau to Haines, Alaska where we will tour the partly glaciated Palmer exploration project to look at core with beautiful volcanic textures and ore from the high-grade, 8 Mt polymetallic Late Triassic Glacier Creek VMS deposit.

The trip will finish with a day of regional geology, driving from Haines back to Whitehorse. En route we will stop to look at exposures of the Denali fault and Jura-Cretaceous sediments, similar to those hosting the Kensington deposit, all the while taking in the spectacular landscape of Kluane National Park.

Tectonics of the Intermontane and Insular terranes, and development of Mesozoic synorogenic basins in southern Yukon; Carmacks to Kluane Lake

June 4-6, 2016
This field trip is now full.  To add your name to the waitlist, please contact Rosie Cobbet (rosie.cobbett@gov.yk.ca).

Leaders: Steve Israel, Matt Hutchison, and Maurice Colpron (Yukon Geological Survey)

This 3-day field trip will examine the geology of the Intermontane and Insular terranes (mainly Stikinia and Wrangellia), the development of Mesozoic synorogenic basins (Whitehorse, Kluane, Dezadeash), and related Mesozoic-Cenozoic arc magmatism between Carmacks, Whitehorse and Kluane Lake in southern Yukon. The scenic roadside and river exposures will provide the backdrop for discussions of the tectonic evolution of the northern Cordilleran orogen and its resources, from Paleozoic to the Present. This trip will involve long-distance travel on major Yukon highways and end with two short hikes in the magnificent Kluane Ranges.