New exploration targets for gold, molybdenum, tungsten, and tin are indicated by the systematic distribution of metals in soil and plants of the Red Mountain stockwork and its environs. The stockwork is built of countless quartz veins and veinlets, extensively argillized and containing sparsely disseminated gold, pyrite, arsenoDyrite, Dyrrhotite, fluorite, and other minerals. The stockwork developed along the outer ring-fracture zone of the Eocene Quartz Creek cauldron where subsidence strain, unrelieved by radial faulting, produced internal deformation and intense small-scale fracturing in rocks of the Idaho batholith. The stockwork, cropping out as a fault-bounded polygon 2,700 ft long and 2,000 ft wide, contains (underlies?) a large, virtually barren quartz body 1,350 ft long and 350 ft wide. Deformed, shattered granite flanks and presumably underlies the stockwork, which may plunge southward beneath inclusion-bearing granodiorite and alaskite of the Idaho batholith suite. Narrow dikes of rhyolite and latite radiate from two centers within the quartz body. Many dikes and small bosses of rhyolite and latite intrude stockwork and granite. The radial habit of some dikes and the high frequency of small intrusives concentrated within the sericite and kaolinite alteration zones suggest that a Tertiary porphyry is concealed beneath the mountain. Clay-mineral alteration zones mapped in residual soil extend far outward from the stockwork. Valleys filled with Quaternary deposits bound the stockwork-granite complex on the east, north, and west, effectively concealing elements of a crudely elliptical substructure that differs from the fault-dissected, mappable part of the complex.
Metal anomalies in soil of the 3,600-ft x 8,400-ft gridded area are mostly weak and small. In contrast, metal anomalies in plants are strong, large, and consistent with the inference of a concealed elliptical substructure that may be hoodlike and may contain more than one mineralized zone. Gold in ashed sapwood of douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) indicates a major gold anomaly, peak value 14.2 ppm Au, on inclusion-bearing granodiorite in an unprospected area south of the exposed stockwork. Locally, the gold anomaly is accompanied by a sizable tin anomaly, peak value 100 ppm Sn, in douglas-fir. Molybdenum in ashed leaves of beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), peak value >500 ppm Mo, indicates extensive anomalies within a 2-milelong semi-elliptical belt of Mo values exceeding the 20 ppm median. Most of the belt is on valley fill, but the southern segment of it, near the major gold anomaly, is mainly on inclusion-bearing granodiorite. Here, where beargrass is sparse, the peak value of Mo in beargrass drops to 70 ppm. Where beargrass is absent, ashed leaves of sedge (Carex geyeri) have anomalous values of 100 ppm Mo. An additional target for molybdenum is indicated by molybdenite from the inaccessible Dart of the main adit. The molybdenite, seen only in dump specimens, is in weakly silicified granite that may underlie part of the stockwork. The source body of the molybdenite is blind, and no clue to it is given by samples of soil or plants. Just north of the major gold anomaly, 2 ppm values of W in beargrass coincide approximately with a tungsten anomaly in soil (peak value 22 ppm W) in an area of float containing disseminated scheelite in weakly silicified inclusion-bearing granodiorite. Other areas of 2 ppm W values in beargrass are nearly coextensive with the Moin-beargrass anomalies on Quaternary deposits of Quartz Creek valley. Some of the target areas for gold, molybdenum, tungsten, and tin have not been circumscribed by our sampling.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Preliminary report on geology, geochemical exploration, and biogeochemical exploration of the Red Mountain stockwork, Yellow Pine District, Valley County, Idaho