The McDermitt caldera is a Miocene collapse structure along the Nevada-Oregon border. The oval-shaped caldera is bounded by arcuate normal faults on the north and south and by rhyolite ring domes on the west.
Precollapse ash-flow tuffs exposed within the south caldera rim consist of three cooling units and are peralkaline in composition. Refractive indexes of nonhydrated glasses from basal vitrophyres of the. units range from 1.493 to 1.503 and are typical of comendites. Post-collapse intracaldera rocks consist of tuffaceous lake sediments, rhyolite flows and domes, and ash-flow tuffs.
Within the caldera are the mercury mines of Bretz, Cordero, McDermitt, Opalite, and Ruja and the Moonlight uranium mine. The mercury mines are adjacent to ring fracture faults, and the uranium mine and other uranium occurrences are located within rhyolite ring domes. Fluid inclusions in quartz indicate a deposition temperature of 340?C for the uranium deposit and 200?C for the mercury deposits. The mercury deposits formed at shallow depth by replacement of lakebed sediments and volcanic rocks.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Geology and ore deposits of the McDermitt Caldera, Nevada-Oregon