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The mineral resource potential of the Richfield 1? x 2? quadrangle, Utah, has been appraised using geological, geophysical, geochemical, and remote-sensing techniques. These studies have led to many publications giving basic data and interpretations; of these, a series of 18 maps at 1:250,000 and 1:500,000 scales summarizing aspects of the geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and remote sensing is designated the CUSMAP (Conterminous United States Mineral Appraisal Program) folio. This circular uses the data shown on these maps to appraise the mineral resource potential of the quadrangle.
The oldest rocks exposed in the Richfield quadrangle are small patches of Early Proterozoic (1.7 billion years old) gneiss and schist on the west side of the Mineral Mountains. These rocks presumably formed the basement on which many thousands of meters of Late Proterozoic, Paleozoic, and lower Mesozoic sedimentary strata were deposited. These rocks were deformed during the Late Cretaceous Sevier orogeny when Precambrian and Paleozoic strata in the western part of the quadrangle were thrust relatively eastward across Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata in the eastern part of the quadrangle. Late Cretaceous and early Tertiary highlands above the overthrust belt were eroded and much of the debris was deposited in broad basins east of the belt. Volcanism in Oligocene and earliest Miocene time formed an east-northeast-trending belt of calcalkalic volcanoes across the southern half of the quadrangle. In early Miocene time, the composition of the volcanic rocks changed to a bimodal assemblage of mafic rocks and high-silica alkali rhyolite that has been erupted episodically ever since.
Syngenetic mineral resources developed during formation of both sedimentary and volcanic rocks. These include limestone and dolomite, silica-rich sandstone, metalliferous black shale, evaporite deposits, zeolite deposits, pumice, cinders and scoria, and evaporitic or diagenetic deposits in playa environments. Most of these deposits need to have markets established, or extraction and fabrication techniques developed, for them to be utilized.
Most epigenetic deposits are of volcanogenic-hydrothermal origin. Deposits associated with calc-alkalic igneous activity largely contain Cu, Pb, Zn, Au, and Ag, and occur in a variety of types zoned around core intrusions. Younger deposits are mostly associated with silicic igneous centers belonging to the bimodal mafic-silicic igneous association. Resources associated with this latter group are likely to contain one or more of the elements Mo, W, U, Sn, Be, and F, as well as Pb, Zn, Au, and Ag. Alunite and kaolinite deposits are found at many mineralized centers. Most epigenetically mineralized areas expose only the upper, near-surface parts of the different hydrothermal systems; most of whatever mineral deposits formed in these systems probably still exist at depth, awaiting discovery. Our conclusion is that many mineralized areas have excellent possibilities for the occurrence of mineral resources.
Each of the many identified centers of mineralization is discussed briefly in this report and an estimate made of its resource potential.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Summary mineral resource appraisal of the Richfield 1 degree x 2 degrees Quadrangle, west-central Utah