Minerals smaller than grain of sand can help explorers find new kimberlite deposits, N.W.T. gov’t says – by Alex Brockman (CBC News North – April 3, 2017)


Government releases new data based on core samples near Lac de Gras, N.W.T.

Geologists with the territorial government say minerals smaller than grains of sand could be key to the next diamond find in the Northwest Territories. Data released by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment last week shows whether certain minerals only found in kimberlite are present in core samples drilled from a nearly 8,000-square-kilometre area near Lac de Gras, N.W.T.

“You’re looking for certain sand-sized particles of indicator minerals only found in kimberlite,” explained Scott Cairns, the territorial government’s manager of minerals and bedrock mapping.

“The idea being if you find a few grains of sand that originated from the kimberlite, you’d be able to track those back to the kimberlite itself,” Cairns said. Traditional surveying for these kimberlite indicators tracked surface samples instead of samples from the core, Cairns said.

Geologists would find these samples, then attempt to trace them back to find the kimberlite deposits. But glaciers often dragged those samples far from their original location, which makes finding the kimberlite pipes difficult.

These new core samples, from 2015, were taken from just above the bedrock. That means they provide a clearer picture than earlier surveying — though the work of going out and seeing what’s in the ground still needs to be done, Cairns added.

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