Project: The Petrology, Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Origin of the Ren Carbonatite, Monashee Complex, Southeastern British Columbia
Carbonatites are relatively rare magmatic rocks that consist of more than 50% carbonate minerals, and are variably enriched in rare earth elements (REEs), high field strength elements (HFSEs) and phosphorous. Their global occurrence is generally limited to continental rifts, and their origin has been the focus of ongoing debates among petrologists.
In that context, supervised by Dr. Lee Groat, the thesis project explores the Ren carbonatite occurrence in the Canadian Cordillera. The carbonatite is found in the Monashee Complex, along the northwestern margin of Frenchman Cap Dome, within the calc-silicate unit. Near Ratchford Creek, the carbonatite is 3 km long and 20–150 m wide. It is variably enriched in REEs and HFSEs at generally low-to-medium grades. The carbonatite appears to comprise additional but discontinuous carbonatite segments, with similar stratigraphic relationships, several km to the south. The Ren carbonatite occurrence therefore encompasses a total large unknown tonnage of mostly unknown REE and HFSE grades, which warrants considerable exploration. Using laboratory techniques, this project will examine the petrology, mineralogy and geochemistry of the carbonatite, to determine its origin, ore type, mineralization and economic potential. Thus the research will not only advance our knowledge on the petrology and origin of carbonatites in the Monashee Complex, but it will also aid in the prediction of economic REE- and HFSE-ore systems elsewhere in the Canadian Cordillera.