In the Long Canyon area, Blaine County, Idaho, a strati-form base-metal-bearing gossan is exposed within a complexly folded and faulted sequence of Ordovician strata. The gossan horizon in graptolitic mudrock suggests preservation of bedded sulfides that were deposited by an Ordovician subaqueous hydrothermal system. Abrupt thickness changes and geochemi-cal zoning in the metal-bearing strata suggest that the gossan is near the source of the hydrothermal system.
Ordovician sedimentary rocks at Long Canyon represent a coarsening-upward section that was deposited below wave base in a submarine depositional environment. The lowest exposed rocks represent deposition in a starved, euxinic basin and over-lying strata represent a prograding clastic wedge of terrigenous and calcareous detritus. The metalliferous strata are between these two types of strata.
Strata at Long Canyon have been deformed by two periods of thrust faulting, at least three periods of normal faulting, and two periods of folding. Tertiary extensional faulting formed five subhorizontal structural plates. These low-angle fault-bounded plates truncate Sevier-age and possibly Antler-age thrust faults. The presence of gossan-bearing strata in the four upper plates suggests that there was only minor, although locally complex, stratigraphic displacement and rotation. The lack of correlative strata in the lowest plate suggests the displacement was greater than 2000 ft.
The metalliferous strata were exposed to surface weathering,
oxidation, and erosion prior to and during deposition of the Eocene Challis Volcanic Group. The orientations of erosional canyons formed during this early period of exposure were related to the orientations of Sevier-age thrust faults, and stream-channel gravel was deposited in the canyons. During this and subsequent intervals of exposure, sulfidic strata were oxi-dized to a minimum depth of 700 ft.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Geology of an Ordovician stratiform base-metal deposit in the Long Canyon Area, Blaine County, Idaho