The Tombstone, Mayo and Tungsten plutonic suites of granitic intrusions, collectively termed the Tombstone-Tungsten Belt, form three geographically, mineralogically, geochemically and metallogenically distinct plutonic suites. The granites (sensu lato) intruded the ancient North American continental margin of the northern Canadian Cordillera as part of a single magmatic episode in the mid-Cretaceous (96–90 Ma). The Tombstone Suite is alkalic, variably fractionated, slightly oxidised, contains magnetite and titanite, and has primary, but no xenocrystic, zircon. The Mayo Suite is sub-alkalic, metaluminous to weakly peraluminous, fractionated, but with early felsic and late mafic phases, moderately reduced with titanite dominant, and has xenocrystic zircon. The Tungsten Suite is peraluminous, entirely felsic, more highly fractionated, reduced with ilmenite dominant, and has abundant xenocrystic zircon. Each suite has a distinctive petrogenesis. The Tombstone Suite was derived from an enriched, previously depleted lithospheric mantle, the Tungsten Suite is from the continental crust including, but not dominated by, carbonaceous pelitic rocks, and the Mayo Suite is from a similar sedimentary crustal source, but is mixed with a distinct mafic component from an enriched mantle source.
Each suite has a distinctive metallogeny that is related to the source and redox characteristics of the magma. The Tombstone Suite has a Au-Cu-Bi association that is characteristic of most oxidised and alkalic magmas, but also has associated, and enigmatic, U-Th-F mineralisation. The reduced Tungsten Suite intrusions are characterised by world-class tungsten skarn deposits with less significant Cu, Zn, Sn and Mo anomalies. The Mayo Suite intrusions are characteristically gold-enriched, with associated As, Bi, Te and W associations. All suites also have associated, but distal and lower temperature Ag-Pb- and Sb-rich mineral occurrences. Although processes such as fractionation, volatile enrichment and phase separation are ultimately required to produce economic concentrations of ore elements from crystallising magmas, the nature of the source materials and their redox state play an important role in determining which elements are effectively concentrated by magmatic processes