Short Course & Field Investigation of
Physical Volcanology, Structure, and Hydrothermal Alteration

associated with
VMS and Lode Gold Deposits
in Archean Greenstone Belts


Click Here for a Photo Tour of the Workshop
(Compliments of Dorothy Campbell, OGS)

October 5 – 12, 2008

University of Minnesota Duluth

Duluth, Minnesota

Mud Creek Shear Zone

Quartz-ankerite schist in the Mud Creek Shear Zone, Vermilion District MNWabigoon PillowsPillowed basalt in the Wabigoon Subprovince

Participant Limit: 22

Registration Fees: $1650 - Professionals
$1100- Graduate Students (limit 3)

Tuition (optional): $234 for 2.5 college credits

Registration Deadline: September 19, 2008



Download pdf's of:

Information Circular

Registration Form

Workshop Information:

About the Workshop
Workshop Instructors
Short Course
Field Trip (Travel to Canada)
Workshop Schedule
Registration and Fees
College Credits and Tuition
Notice of Acceptance and Cancellation Policy
Graduate Student Registration
About Duluth
Air and Ground Transportation to Duluth
Hotel Accommodations
More Information

Become a PRC member and reserve a workshop slot today!!

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About the Workshop
The workshop is designed for professional geologists and graduate students working with and/or interested in hydrothermally altered and/or metamorphosed Precambrian volcanic rocks associated with submarine volcanic-associated mineralization, as well as structurally deformed and hydrothermally altered rocks associated with mesothermal-type lode gold deposits.  Emphasis will be placed on the physical and field characteristics of rocks associated with these deposits, as well as the theoretical concepts associated with the genesis of these ore systems.

The workshop will lead off with an informal icebreaker and lecture on the evening of October 5.  A two-and-one-half-day long short course involving lectures and labs will be conducted in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Minnesota Duluth on October 6 - 8.  Three days of field investigation in the Sturgeon Lake area (northwestern Ontario VMS), the Rainy River area (northwestern Ontario gold), and the Western Vermilion district (northern Minnesota VMS and gold) concludes the workshop on October 9 -11. Participants will return to Duluth the morning of Sunday, October 12.

Workshop Instructors
Listed below are bios of the scheduled list of instructors for the short course.

  • Ron Morton - Professor,  Dept. of Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota Duluth
    Research Interests: Physical volcanology, volcanogenic massive sulfide VMS mineralization, and hydrothermal alteration of greenstone belts in northwestern Ontario and northern Minnesota.
  • George Hudak - Associate Professor, Dept. of Geology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
    Research Interests:
    Field-based volcanic facies and hydrothermal alteration mineral facies mapping associated with Neoarchean VMS and epithermal gold deposits; variations in mineral chemistry across ancient submarine hydrothermal alteration zones; geochemistry of Precambrian volcanic rocks and associated hydrothermal alteration zones, and mineralization.

  • Dean Peterson - Senior Research Associate, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth
    Research Interests: Economic geology, geological mapping, Precambrian geology, mineral potential modeling, and three-dimensional modeling of ore systems including mesothermal-gold, epithermal-gold, volcanogenic massive sulfide, copper-nickel-PGE in the Duluth Complex, high-grade copper-PGE veins beneath the Sudbury Igneous Complex, and copper-gold-molybdenum porphyry deposits.
  • Harold Gibson Director, Mineral Exploration Research Centre, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario
    Research Interests: S
    ubmarine volcanic processes and deposits, impact structures and breccias, hydrothermal alteration and fluid characteristics, volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposits, epithermal precious metal deposits, mesothermal gold deposits, Ni-Cu-PGE deposits, and diamonds.

Short Course  
(Sunday, October 5 – Wednesday, October 8)
      Three days of instruction will involve lectures and laboratory sessions on the topics listed below.  Study materials will include lecture notes, hand specimens, thin sections, and chemical analyses of a variety of altered and metamorphosed volcanic, volcaniclastic, and epiclastic rocks associated with VMS mineralization, as well as structurally deformed and altered supracrustal and intrusive rocks associated with Precambrian lode gold deposits. Numerous classic mineralized regions will be discussed during the course and showcased in the labs, including:
            Noranda, Quebec                      Timmins, Ontario                       Kirkland Lake, Ontario
            Winston Lake, Ontario               Sturgeon Lake, Ontario              Snow Lake, Manitoba   
            Kuroko, Japan                          Flin Flon, Manitoba                    Wawa, Ontario  
            Vermilion District, Minnesota      Hemlo, Ontario                          Kirkland Lake, Ontario  
            Bousquet, Quebec

Participants will receive a short course volume that will include lecture and lab notes and pertinent background information and articles.

Sunday, October 5: Icebreaker and Introductory Lecture (Morton, Hudak, Gibson, Peterson)

Lecture: Introduction to short course and field trips; components of submarine volcanic centers and recognition of synvolcanic structures and synvolcanic intrusions

Monday, October 6: Physical Volcanology, Alteration & Geochemistry of Submarine Lava Flows (Gibson, Morton, Hudak)

Lectures: Components of submarine volcanic centers; submarine mafic and felsic lavas – physical volcanology, geochemistry and hydrothermal alteration
Lab: Physical characteristics of submarine lavas; physical and mineralogical characteristics of hydrothermally altered submarine lavas in VMS mineralizing systems

Tuesday, October 7: Physical Volcanology, Alteration & Geochemistry of Submarine Volcaniclastic and Epiclastic Rocks (Morton and Hudak)

Lectures: Eruptive processes, depositional mechanisms, and physical characteristics of submarine volcaniclastic and epiclastic rocks; submarine calderas and mineralization; hydrothermal alteration of submarine volcaniclastic and epiclastic rocks
Lab: Physical characteristics of mafic, intermediate, and felsic volcaniclastic and epiclastic rocks and peperites; Physical and mineralogical characteristics of hydrothermally altered submarine volcaniclastic and epiclastic rocks and peperites associated with VMS mineralizing systems

Wednesday, October 8: Structural Geology and Alteration Associated with Mesothermal Lode Gold Deposits (Peterson)

Lectures: Introduction to lode gold deposits; description of the lode-gold ore deposit model, structural geology and timing associated with lode gold deposits; alteration associated with lode gold deposits
Lab: Evaluation of geological maps with emphasis on identifying elements that indicate favorable conditions for gold deposition “building geological maps, taking geological maps apart into their basic elements, building new maps of lode gold potential”

Field Trip
(Thursday, October 9 – Sunday, October 12)
A three-day long field trip will investigate the well-preserved, hydrothermally altered and metamorphosed volcanic rocks which host VMS and lode gold deposits within the Wabigoon and Wawa subprovinces of the Superior Province (see figure below). Participants will receive a guidebook for the field trip.

Thursday, October 9: Sturgeon Lake area
In the Sturgeon Lake area of northwestern Ontario, one of the world’s best preserved mineralized Neoarchean caldera complexes will be investigated.  Features that will be investigated include caldera-collapse associated meso- and megabreccia deposits, voluminous subaqueously deposited felsic tuffs and lapilli tuffs, well preserved mafic-intermediate pillow lavas, pillow breccias, hyaloclastite and peperites, submarine lava domes and dome-associated breccia deposits, and replacement-style volcanogenic massive sulfide mineralization. Additionally, various alteration mineral assemblages and their spatial relationships to synvolcanic fault zones will be observed and evaluated.

Friday, October 10: Rainy River area
The second day of the field trip will be devoted to viewing the geologic setting lode gold deposits within poorly exposed rocks of the Rainy River district of the Wabigoon Subprovince.  Due to thick overburden cover and a paucity of outcrop, much of the geological interpretation of the Rainy River area has been based on the aeromagnetic data, geological mapping, and rotasonic drilling carried out in the late 1980’s by the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS), and on data collected from over 700 reverse circulation drill hole completed by Nuinsco Resources Limited between 1994 and 1999. The OGS program resulted in the discovery of a high level of pristine gold grains in Richardson Township.  The trip intends to view the products of an advanced exploration program by Rainy River Resources in Richardson Township.

Saturday, October 11: Lake Vermilion District
In the Vermilion District of northeastern Minnesota, a Neoarchean, mafic-intermediate, lava flow-dominated submarine volcanic sequence will be studied.  Geological studies suggest that this succession is representive of a submarine succession deposited in increasingly deeper water during the transition from an arc to back-arc environment.  As such, field evidence for evaluating ancient water depth interpretations (flow facies, volcaniclastic strata, alteration and mineralization styles) will be discussed.  Field trip stops will evaluate exceptionally well-preserved pillow lavas, sheet flows, peperites base-metal enriched exhalites and Algoma-type iron formations.  Additionally, regionally extensive semi-conformable (quartz-epidote) and localized disconformable (chlorite-sericite) alteration zones will be visited. The well-exposed Mud Creek Road area of the Vermilion hosts several of the classic styles of lode gold mineralization, including: 1) pyritic shear zones, 2) auriferous quartz-carbonate veins in felsic intrusive rocks, and 3) sulfidized iron formation.  The Mud Creek Shear Zone is analogous to classic major shear zones in Ontario (Destor-Porcupine, Kirkland Lake-Cadillac Break).  The field trip will investigate all of these features and how they are interrelated. 

GOO map

Portion of the Bedrock Geology of Ontario map (OGS Map 2542) showing the field trip area locations.

Travel to Canada
To avoid any complication at the U.S.-Canadian border, all participants are required to carry a valid passport during the field trip.  According to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiatives (WHTI) regulations from the US Homeland Security Department, US-Canadian border crossings by land require US and Canadian citizens to present a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, along with proof of citizenship, such as a passport, birth certificate, or naturalization certificate.     

Workshop Schedule

Sunday, Oct. 5
- Participants arrive in Duluth; check in to hotels; reception and introductory lectures
     18:00-21:00      Welcoming Reception at the Inn on Lake Superior (Hors d’ouevres provided, cash bar) Introductory Lecture

Monday, Oct. 6 – Physical Volcanology/Alteration of Lava Flows & Associated VMS Mineralization
         7:45-8:00      Participants transported by van from hotels to UMD
       8:00-12:30      Lectures and Lab – Submarine Mafic and Felsic Lava Flows and VMS
     12:30-13:30      Lunch break (UMD dining center)
     13:30-16:30      Lectures and Lab – Alteration of Submarine Lava Flows and Mineralization
              16:30      Participants transported by vans back to hotels

Tuesday, Oct. 7 – Physical Volcanology/Alteration of Volcaniclastic Rocks & Associated VMS Mineralization
         7:45-8:00      Participants transported by van from hotels to UMD
       8:00-12:00      Lectures and Labs – Submarine Volcaniclastic Rocks and VMS
     12:00-13:00      Lunch break (UMD dining center)
    13:00 -17:00      Lectures and Lab – Alteration of Submarine Volcaniclastic Rocks and Mineralization
              17:00      Participants transported by vans back to hotels
              18:00      Banquet at North Shore restaurant

Wednesday, Oct. 8 – Structure, Alteration, and Mineralization Associated with Lode Gold Deposits
         7:45-8:00      Participants transported by van from hotels to UMD
       8:00-13:00      Lectures and Lab – Lode Gold Deposits
     13:00-14:00      Lunch break (UMD dining center)
              14:00      Participants load busses
     18:00-19:00      Dinner* in Thunder Bay, Ontario
             22:00       Check in to Silver Dollar bunkhouses, Sturgeon Lake, Ont.
Thursday, Oct. 9 – Field Trip: Day 1 – Sturgeon Lake VMS Field Trip
      7:00 – 8:00      Breakfast (provided)
       8:00-16:00      Sturgeon Lake Field Trip (lunch provided)
     16:00-18:00      Drive to Dryden, Ontario
     18:00-19:00      Dinner* at Dryden Restaurant
     19:00-21:00      Drive to Fort Francis, Ontario: check in to Fort Francis motel

Friday, Oct. 10 – Field Trip: Day 2 –Rainy River Gold Field Trip
      7:00 – 8:00      Continental Breakfast at Fort Francis motel
       9:00-16:00      Rainy River area field trip (lunch provided)
     16:00-18:30      Drive to Lake Vermilion, check in at Fortune Bay Casino Hotel
     18:30-19:30      Dinner* at Fortune Bay Casino Hotel
Saturday, Oct. 11 – Field Trip: Day 3 – Vermilion District VMS and Gold Field Trip
         7:00-8:00      Breakfast at Fortune Bay (provided)
         8:00-9:00      Overview lecture on Vermilion District geology
       9:00-17:30      Vermilion District field trip (lunch provided)
     18:30-20:00      Banquet dinner at Fortune Bay Casino Hotel
Sunday, Oct. 12 – Participants leave Fortune Bay Casino Hotel at 7:30 am, arrive in Duluth by 9:30 am

* at participants’ expense

Registration and Fees
Registration for this hands-on workshop is limited to 22 participants with preference given to PRC members*.  Three slots at a discounted rate will be reserved for students enrolled in MS or PhD programs (see requirements below). All other participants will be accepted to the workshop on a first come – first serve basis contingent upon receipt of the registration form and full payment of the workshop fee.

Total Workshop Fee: $1650 USD ($1100 for Students, limit 3)
Registration deadline: September 19, 2008.
Final Notice of Acceptance: September 22, 2008
Cancellation Deadline: September 29, 2008

* Click here to learn about the benefits of a PRC membership.

The workshop fee includes:

  • Copy of short course volume and field trip guidebook
  • Certificate of Attendance indicating contact hours
  • Van transport between Downtown Duluth/Canal Park hotels and UMD
  • Welcoming reception Sunday evening (10/5)
  • Banquet dinner Tuesday evening (10/7)
  • Lunches and morning coffee breaks during short course (10/6 – 10/8)
  • Four nights lodging during the field trip (10/8 - 10/11)
  • Field trip transportation (by mini-coach bus)
  • Breakfasts, lunches and refreshments during field trip (10/8 - 10/12)
  • Banquet dinner Saturday evening (10/11)

Participants will be responsible for all other meals not indicated above, as well as their hotel accommodations in Duluth and transportation to and from Duluth.

College Credits and Tuition
All registrants will receive a certificate of participation at the completion of the workshop that indicates involvement in 40 contact hours of instruction. Registrants also have the option of receiving 2.5 undergraduate credits from the University of Minnesota Duluth for participating in this workshop and submitting brief reports. 
Course Name:
GEOL 5095, Sec. 241 - Special Topics: Precambrian Volcanic Rocks, Hydrothermal Alteration, and Associated Mineral Deposits
Instructor of Record:
Prof. Ron Morton, UMD Department of Geological Sciences
Tuition Fee:
$233.90 ($88/credit for tuition; $5.56/credit for UMD Information Technology Systems and Services fee)
To receive full credit for the course, participants must:

  1. Participate in all aspects of the short course and field trip
  2. Submit a 2- to 3-page reflection paper on each of the three short course sessions
  3. Complete an evaluation of various alteration mineral assemblages and their spatial relationships to synvolcanic fault zones
  4. Complete a course evaluation form

Requirements 2-4 must be submitted to the instructor by December 15, 2008 to receive Spring 08 credit.

Notice of Acceptance and Cancellation Policy
Upon receipt of completed registration form and full payment, a preliminary notice of acceptance will be sent.  If the course fills before the registration deadline, you can request to be put on a waiting list and your check held.  Because a limited number of PRC members have priority for the course at any time before the registration deadline, it is possible (but unlikely) to be bumped from the workshop by a PRC member, especially for late registrants.  A final notice of acceptance to the workshop will be sent by September 22.

A full course refund is given if notice of cancellation is received by September 29.  Our program obligations make it necessary to assess a charge equal to one-half of the course fee for later cancellations.  No course refund is possible after the course begins on October 5

Graduate Student Registration
Up to three graduate students enrolled in accredited M.S. or Ph.D. programs in Canadian or US colleges during the 2007-2008 academic year may attend the workshop at a discounted registration rate of $1100.  Student registrations must be accompanied by:

  • a letter by the student briefly describing how the workshop pertains to their thesis research and their career goals.
  • a letter of recommendation from their thesis advisor commenting on the qualifications of the student and the usefulness of this workshop to the student’s thesis research.

Students registrations do not initially require payment of fees.   If more than 3 students register, the three most qualified students will be chosen and notified by September 22.  Upon notification of acceptance into the workshop, students will be expected to pay the registration fee (and tuition costs, if requested) by September 29.

About Duluth
Duluth, the world’s largest freshwater inland port, is located at the western tip of Lake Superior, midway between the Twin Cities of Minneapolis / St. Paul and the Canadian border.  Nestled in the hills overlooking the largest of the Great Lakes, the city offers breathtaking scenery and serves as the gateway to abundant recreational opportunities.

Persons desiring additional information about Duluth can call the Duluth Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-4-DULUTH (438-5884) or visit their website ( For additional information about Minnesota, call the Minnesota Office of Tourism at 888-TOURISM (868-7476) or visit their website at

Air and Ground Transportation to Duluth
Daily flights into Duluth International Airport ( are provided by Northwest Airlines with up eight flights daily arriving from Minneapolis-St. Paul and two from Detroit.  Transportation from the airport to area hotels and motels is available by taxi at reasonable rates and some hotels provide shuttle service (check with your hotel).  Rental cars may also be obtained at the airport from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National.

If you are flying out of Duluth on Sunday, October 19, we will be returning from the field trip by 9:30 AM and will drop participants off at the airport.  This will allow participants to catch nonstop Northwest Airline flights to Minneapolis scheduled to depart at 10:49 AM and 12:40 PM and an early afternoon nonstop flight to Detroit which departs at 1:25 PM.   

Hotel Accommodations
Participants are expected to reserve and pay for their own hotel accommodations for the time (3 nights) we will be in Duluth - Sunday night (10/5) thru Wednesday morning (10/8).   For ease of collecting and transporting people to and from UMD by van, we request that you book accommodations in one of the Downtown/Canal Park area hotels listed below at least for the first four nights.  The locations of these hotels are shown on the map below.   The Inn on Lake Superior, the location of the Sunday night reception, has a block of 15 rooms reserved for the workshop at a negotiated rate ($106 + tax).  These rooms will only be held until September 5 and you must request the “PRC Workshop” rate.  Rates listed for other hotels are not guaranteed and are subject to change.  Be aware that this is “color season” in northern Minnesota and other conference are in town that week, so book your accommodations as soon as possible.

Downtown Duluth/Canal Park (see map) Recently quoted rates (Sun-Thurs)
Inn on Lake Superior*  



$106 (PRC Workshop Rate)

Canal Park Lodge  




Hampton Inn  



$89/$109 (Cityview/Lakeview)

The Suites at Waterfront Plaza Hotel  




Comfort Suites  



$89/$109 (Cityview/Lakeview)
Radisson Hotel  



Holiday Inn  



* Rooms blocked for “PRC Workshop” until September 5.

Downtown Duluth hotels

For More Information

Questions about registration or accommodations?
                                                            Contact Jim Miller – 218/720-4355,

Questions about the short course, field trips, or college credits?
                                                            Contact Ron Morton – 218/726-7218,
                                                                or George Hudak – 920-424-4463,

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