South Wopmay Bedrock Mapping Project and Integrated Studies

South Wopmay Bedrock Mapping Project and Integrated Studies

Hills at “Fab” Lake underlain by volcanic and related rocks of the Great Bear magmatic zone. Credit: NTGS.


The primary aim of this project is to provide a modern geological map and update our geological knowledge base of the southern Wopmay orogen of the NWT.

Geological setting and location of the South Wopmay Bedrock Mapping Project. Credit: NTGS.


The project is located ~250 km north of the city of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, between Great Slave and Great Bear lakes and between the Tlicho communities of Gameti and Wekweeti. The area straddles the boundary between the Archean Slave Structural Province in the east and the Phanerozoic Interior Platform in the west.

Preliminary geology map of the south Wopmay Bedrock mapping area. Credit: NTGS.


An updated consistent and cohesive bedrock geological map of the southern Wopmay orogen fills in one of the last remaining bedrock knowledge gaps in the region and assists in the understanding of, and relationships between, the geological evolution and polymetallic mineralization preserved in the study area and adjacent areas.

Zodiac boat on Isabella Lake. Credit: NTGS.


The South Wopmay Project is an initiative of the NWT Geological Survey that combines traditional bedrock mapping with targeted investigations, such as metallogenic, isotopic, and geophysical studies. Bedrock mapping is conducted on foot by traverses up to 15 km, and assisted by use of zodiac boat, helicopter, and fixed wing aircraft to access remote locations.

New discovery of copper found along the Wopmay River. Credit: NTGS.


Bedrock mapping focused in two corridors as Phase I and Phase II of the project. Fieldwork for Phase I was initiated in 2004 and completed in 2007; Phase II got underway in the summer of 2008 and was completed in 2012. The project has produced new maps, multiple journal publications and other products.  Publication of a final digital atlas is anticipated in 2019.

Drill core of Dumas Group rocks from old exploration camp. Credit: NTGS.

Partners and Support

Geomapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM I) program Great Bear/IOCG project.

Polar Continental Shelf Program (PCSP project #'s 510-04, 500-07, 507-09, 004-10, and 508-11; for years 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011)

Geological Survey of Canada– teleseismic study (led by D. Snyder), airborne geophysical survey (F. Kiss and J. Carsen)

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies – magnetotelluric transect (lead by J. Spratt and A. Jones)

The project received contributions from University collaborators and students (including theses and directed studies) covering a wide variety of geology-related topics

  • Carleton University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)
  • McMaster University
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Simon Fraser University
  • St. Mary’s University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Ottawa
  • University of Toronto


Wopmay Orogen, Paleoproterozoic, Bedrock Mapping, Great Bear magmatic zone, Hottah terrane, Slave craton, Coronation margin, Geochronology, major and trace element geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, polymetallic mineralization, iron oxide copper-gold (IOCG) deposits, assay results