The Jabal Riah area is in the southern part of the Jibal al Hamdah quadrangle (lat 19?00'00'' to 19?07'S0'' N., long 45?37'30'' to 43?45'00' E.) in the southeastern Precambrian Shield, Asir Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Jabal Mahanid group of ancient gold mines, which is part of the Jabal Ishmas-Wadi Tathlith gold belt, is in the west-central part of the area. Rocks in the Jabal Riah area consist of Precambrian layered metasedimentary and metavolcanic rocks intruded by Precambrian igneous rocks. The metamorphic rocks are, from oldest to youngest, interlayered hornblende and biotite schist, quartz-biotite schist, hornblende schist, serpentinite, and chlorite schist. The igneous rocks are, from oldest to youngest, diorite-gabbro including dikes, granodiorite, monzogranite-granodiorite, leucocratic quartz porphyry, rhyolite, and aplite and pegmatite dikes. A large area of jasper replaces serpentinite. On the valley floors, recent alluvium and pediment deposits overlie the bedrock.
The structure of the area is dominated by a dome centered over the eastern border of the area; leucocratic quartz porphyry forms the core of the dome. Minor folds and faults are present.
The Jabal Mahanid group of ancient gold mines is on a northwest-trending vein system, and major ancient mine areas are found where the system splits or changes direction. The veins consist of zones of brecciated and crushed rock, which are generally less than 0.5 m wide but may be as wide as 1 m. These zones contain quartz and calcite stringers and commonly are along hornblende schist-serpentinite contacts; however, they also cut both units. Most aplite, pegmatite, and quartz dikes in the area are thin and discontinuous and are intruded along the vein trend. Similar veins, at the same stratigraphic interval, have been found beyond the northeastern part of the map area. The veins contain detectable gold and silver (median gold, approximately 0.14 ppm; median silver, approximately 1 ppm). Gold and silver are most abundant in calcium-rich rocks and veins; silver was not detected in igneous rocks. Altered wall-rock zones are mineralized as much as 10 m away from the veins.
Away from the Jabal Mahanid vein-system, silver was detected in the jasper. Gold and silver were detected in minor brecciated and sheared structures and in metasedimentary rocks. Gold was detected in sericitized margins of the leucocratic quartz porphyry, in unaltered rhyolite, and in aplite dikes.
The presence of unusual amounts of gold and silver over a wide area is indicated by the ancient gold mines along veins at or near the hornblende schist-serpentinite contact in the map area and to the south in the Hajrah-Hamdah area and by the widespread evidence of precious metals in igneous rocks and other vein structures. A domed-shaped area, approximately 30 km in diameter, is outlined by the hornblende schist-serpentinite contact and has leucocratic quartz prophyry in the middle. Additional study of this area might reveal economic concentrations of gold and silver.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Geology of the Jabal Riah area, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia