In order to distinguish dissimilar from similar features of epithermal districts, lithotectonic, mineralogical and geochemical traits are compiled for 15 such districts. The districts occur in structurally complex settings associated with silicic to intermediate volcanics. Affiliation with subduction environments on a continental scale and caldera settings on a regional scale is common but is not demonstrable for all districts. Most deposits formed near the end of major volcanism, but some formed considerably later. Paleodepth to the top of the ore is 300-600 m for most districts, although Au-rich districts appear to be shallower. The lateral extent of the ore zone is highly variable and far exceeds the limited vertical range (300-800m). Most ore was deposited from dominantly meteoric fluids ranging in temperature from 220?-290?C. Salinities ranged from 0-13 wt % NaCl equiv., and typical values were 1-3 wt %. Although noted for eight deposits, boiling is clearly associated with precious-metal deposition in only two deposits. Four districts, typified by Goldfield, Nev., are characterized by a highly sulfidized mineral assemblage, advanced argillic alteration, and ore deposition closely following emplacement of the host rock. The remaining el even districts highlight a second, discrete type of deposit. They contain adularia, exhibit sericitic ? argillic alteration, and were mineralized significantly after emplacement of the host rock. The latter category includes two subgroups: Ag- and base-metal-rich deposits (e.g., Creede, Colo.), and Au-rich, base-metal-poor deposits (e.g., Round Mtn., Nev.).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Comparative anatomy of epithermal precious- and base-metal districts hosted by volcanic rocks
U.S. Geological Survey,
20 p. in various pagings :ill. (some col.) ;28 cm.