Professor and Logan Chair
Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences
3450 University St.
Canada H3A 0E8
Email: anthony [dot] williams-jones [at] mcgill [dot] ca
My research is devoted mainly to understanding the genesis of hydrothermal mineral deposits through a combination of field-based, experimental and theoretical methods. Deposits investigated include porphyry Cu and Mo, pegmatite-, greisen- and vein-hosted Sn-W, epithermal/mesothermal Au-Ag, epithermal Sb and Hg, and granite/pegmatite- and carbonatite-hosted rare metals (REE, Li, Be, Zr, Y). An important objective of the research is to help improve exploration strategies for such deposits and, where possible, develop new exploration tools. The research focus concerns the understanding of physico-chemical controls of mineralization, and the starting point is the careful geological mapping of deposits, with emphasis on the relationships between alteration and mineralization.
In addition to petrography, and mineral and whole-rock chemistry, fluid inclusion studies are an important component of laboratory research, and are supported by a facility equipped with heating/freezing and infrared stages for microthermometry, and a chromatographic system for measuring gas compositions. Experimental studies emphasise determinations of metal solubility and speciation in hydrothermal systems, and simulations of hydrothermal alteration. These studies are conducted in a laboratory equipped with conventional high temperature autoclaves and ovens, hydrothermal flow-through autoclaves, and a UV-visible spectrophotometer modified for high temperature spectroscopy. Theoretical research is divided between estimating conditions of ore/alteration mineral stabilities, and corresponding solubility and computer simulations of mineralization processes.
Projects in progress include: investigations of the genesis of Archean gold deposits in high grade metamorphic rocks at Hemlo, Ontario (supported by CAMIRO), Troilus, Quebec (supported by Inmet), and Onaman, Ontario (supported by Cameco); experimental studies of the solubility of metals in aqueous vapours, and measurements of their partitioning between aqueous liquid and vapour; experimental investigations of the solubility of mercury and other metals in liquid alkanes; development of laser-ablation ICP-MS as a new micro-analytical tool for fluid inclusion analysis; a study of links between porphyry Cu and high-sulphidation epithermal Au mineralization at Pascua, Chile (supported by Barrick); reconstruction of the Sn mineralizing system at San Rafael, Peru (supported by Minsur), and of the geological and geochemical environment responsible for zinc skarn mineralization at El Mochito, Honduras (supported by Breakwater); experimental and computer simulations of serpentinization, and evaluation of controls on amphibole distribution (the main cause of mesothelioma) in chrysotile asbestos deposits (supported by JM Asbestos).
Fuchs, S., Williams-Jones, A.E., and Przybylowicz, W.J., (2016). The origin of the gold and uranium ores of the Black Reef Formation, Transvaal supergroup, South Africa. Ore Geology Reviews, 72(P1), 149-164.
Fuchs, S., Williams-Jones, A.E., Jackson, S.E., and Przybylowicz, W.J., (2016). Metal distribution in pyrobitumen of the Carbon Leader Reef, Witwatersrand Supergroup, South Africa: Evidence for liquid hydrocarbon ore fluids. Chemical Geology, 426, 45-59.
Gysi, A.P., Harlov, D., Filho, D.C., and Williams-Jones, A.E., (2016). Experimental determination of the high temperature heat capacity of a natural xenotime-(Y) solid solution and synthetic DyPO4 and ErPO4 endmembers. Thermochimica Acta, 627-629, 61-67.
Libbey, R.B. and Williams-Jones, A.E., (2016). Relating sulfide mineral zonation and trace element chemistry to subsurface processes in the Reykjanes geothermal system, Iceland. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 310, 225-241.
Migdisov, A., Williams-Jones, A.E., Brugger, J., and Caporuscio, F.A., (2016). Hydrothermal transport, deposition, and fractionation of the REE: Experimental data and thermodynamic calculations. Chemical Geology, 439, 13-42.
Möller, V. and Williams-Jones, A.E., (2016). Stable and radiogenic isotope constraints on the magmatic and hydrothermal evolution of the Nechalacho Layered Suite, northwest Canada. Chemical Geology, 440, 248-274.
Nadeau, O., Stix, J., and Williams-Jones, A.E., (2016). Links between arc volcanoes and porphyry-epithermal ore deposits. Geology, 44(1), 11-14.
Trofanenko, J., Williams-Jones, A.E., Simandl, G.J., and Migdisov, A.A., (2016). The nature and origin of the REE mineralization in the Wicheeda Carbonatite, British Columbia, Canada. Economic Geology, 111(1), 199-223.
van Hinsberg, V.J., Berlo, K., Migdisov, A.A., and Williams-Jones, A.E. , (2016). CO2-fluxing collapses metal mobility in magmatic vapour . Geochemical Perspectives Letters, 2, 169-177.
Vasyukova, O. and Williams-Jones, A.E., (2016). The evolution of immiscible silicate and fluoride melts: Implications for REE ore-genesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 172, 205-224.