Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Gordon Southam

Second Advisor

Dr. Rob Schincariol


Dispersion halos found within the soil horizon have long been recognized surrounding ore deposits. Select elements found within this environment are weakly bound and can be extracted. The role of bacteria in low temperature biogeochemical processes, including the adsorption of metal ions and mineral precipitation, suggests that they should be involved in the creation of these halos. Three locations within the Abitibi greenstone belt were selected for bacterial characterization studies, Gémini, 180 East Zone, and the Cross Lake Property, with Cross Lake being the focus of a biodiversity study and a protease extraction experiment. Bacterial populations in dispersion halos are altered, enriching for anaerobic heterotrophs and sulfate reducing bacteria; however, overall biodiversity was lower within the reduced column. The metals found within the slightly acidic halo (Fe, Mn, Zn and Al) were not bound to proteinaceous material and were concentrated within the B-horizon of the soil, demonstrating the importance of utilizing this horizon for ore exploration.



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