Project Overview

Contact metamorphism and ore formation during intrusion of Adirondack Anorthosite

Faculty Sponsor

William Peck (




The Lewis deposit is a major wollastonite (CaSiO3) producer associated with anorthosite magmatism in the Adirondack Highlands, NY. Wollastonite from Lewis is used in applications as diverse as plastics, paints, construction materials, and metallurgical products. Wollastonite – clinopyroxene – garnet skarns in the Lewis area formed between anorthosite plutons and carbonate country rocks because of infiltration of heated meteoric water caused by anorthosite emplacement. This project examines the conditions of emplacement of the anorthosite and its hydrothermal effect on surrounding rocks. The western edge of the Lewis mine is the “blue line”, the boundary of of the Adirondack Park. In 2013 a special referendum was passed in New York that approved a ‘land-swap’, which will add ca. 1500 acres to the park in exchange for allowing mining to expand across the park boundary. This project will examine the new exploration cores drilled in the park by the mining company in 2015, which reveal new information about the dimensions and composition of wollastonite – clinopyroxene – garnet ores at depth. Students working on this project will visit the Lewis mine, describe and sample the exploration core, and will make geochemical analyses of samples back at Colgate. The aim of the project is to better understand the role of igneous versus surface fluids in formation of the ore deposit, the plumbing of fluid infiltration, and the conditions of contact metamorphism of the anorthosite.

Student Qualifications

Students should have completed Geol 201 (Mineralogy) and Geol 202 (Petrology). Geol 320 (Techniques of Field Geology) is not required, but would be helpful. The Geology Department encourages students interested in summer research to meet with potential faculty supervisors before submitting an application.

Number of Student Researchers

2 students

Project Length

10 weeks

Applications open on 01/15/2017 and close on 02/07/2017

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If you have questions, please contact Karyn Belanger (