Gold Occurrences in the Norumbega Fault System of the Northeast Coast of North America

Nubble Light on Cape Neddick in York Maine.  The light is on the Norumbega Fault as evidenced by the intrusions of gabbro that were emplaced during the late Cretaceous, and the earlier intrusions of grano-diorite.  The light itself and the near shore are one of these intrusions found in the Kittery formation of southern Maine.
Photo by Michael Murphy

Like its better known cousin on the west coast the San Andreas Fault the Norumbega Fault System ranges along the coast from New Hampshire through Maine to the eastern coast of New Brunswick in Canada.  This is a fault system that has been little known until recent decades although it has displayed a history of gold deposits since the late 1800s.  Across the border in New Brunswick there has been a great deal of exploration recently with several extensive deposits of gold and other metals having been found.  It has only been in recent years that it has started receiving the attention that has been accorded its southern relative the Brevard Zone, but the latter has been the scene of gold mining in the early 19th century with some of the mines remaining open until the advent of World War II.  A recent drilling program undertaken at one of these old mines in South Carolina has discovered proven reserves exceeding 3,000,000 ounces/ton of gold.

As part of a project undertaken by the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) in southwestern New Brunswick that is one of the most important gold occurrences in the Province as of 1999.  Because of ground cover and lack of outcrops little is known of the geology of this district except it is hosted in volcanic and subvolcanic rocks that occur on Poplar Mountain.  The gold in this deposit is accompanied with arsenopyrite.

A quartz vein in grano-diorite.
Photo by Walter Siegmond

This fault is the second largest fault system in the northern Appalachians exceeded by the Ordovician Fault System that under various names goes from Staten Island New York to Newfoundland where it enters the sea at Baie Verte NF.  When the continents broke apart during the Jurassic the same fault continues through the British Isles and into the mountains of western Norway.  Both of them mark the suture zones between land masses that were moved by tectonic forces.

Gold deposits and other metals have been discovered along both suture zones.  The most active place at the present time is in New Brunswick.  Another hotspot is in Wales in the British Isles.  Little exploration has occurred for decades because of the difficulty in using ordinary exploration methods on this terrain due to heavy groundcover.

One of the best places to look for mineralization is where two faults join at right angles like the Lake Char and Honey Hill faults do in Connecticut.  Both of these faults are a southern extension of the Norumbega Fault System.  Another area of interest is where the City of Worchester MA is located.  If you don’t think there is any gold in the Norumbega Fault System we recently found a deposit that assayed 5.9 on/ton gold and 1.1 oz/ton Platinum.  I am not disclosing its location, so you can go and find your own.