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The Horse Spring Formation of Miocene age in Clark County, Nevada, contains as much as 0.5% Li in individual samples. Rock sequences which average 0.1% Li range from 3 m thick near Gold Butte (south of Mesquite, Nev.) to as much as 40 m thick near Lava Butte (east of Las Vegas, Nev.) about 75 km to the west. The lithium-bearing beds are light colored to white and contain hectorite in a dolomite, magnesite, or calcite matrix. Varied amounts of gypsum, halite, celestite, clinoptilolite, quartz, feldspar, biolite and colemanite are also present locally. Hectorite is the only lithium mineral recognized to date. The lithium-rich rocks contain low concentrations of most other minor elements except that boron and strontium are enriched. Rarely, barium, arsenic, and zinc are present in anomalously large amounts. The lithium-enriched part of the Horse Spring Formation was formed from a series of volcanic ashes which were deposited in a playa. Relict volcanic ash is recognizable in thin sections as remnant glass shards and vitroclastic textures. Most of the original glass has been altered to clay minerals, carbonate minerals, or zeolites, presumably through interaction with highly saline pore waters. Abundant evidence of spring activity suggests that thermal waters played a part in releasing the lithium from volcanic materials. ?? 1978.
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Lithium-bearing rocks of the Horse Spring Formation, Clark County, Nevada