Quartz-molybdenite veins up to 15 cm in width occur in fine to medium-grained porphyritic biotite-hornblende granodiorite at Priestly Lake north-central Maine. An area of about 150 m x 150 m contains quartz-molybdenite veins; a larger area is characterized by barren quartz veins. Quartz-molybdenite veins are concentrated within the most felsic variants of the intrusion as suggested by lower mafic mineral contents. The pluton has a narrow range in SiO2 (67-70 wt.%), major oxides, and in trace-element compositions.
Molybdenite occurs as coarse grained clusters in pockets within the quartz veins, and fills fractures in the quartz veins and host rocks. Disseminated molybdenite in the granodiorite is relatively rare and occurs only in the area characterized by a high density of quartz veins (up to 50 veins per square meter). Alteration envelopes along the quartz veins are very thin or absent, although in some areas the granodiorite appears to be selectively and pervasively altered. Sericite, chlorite, epidote, calcite, pyrite, and quartz are concentrated near the quartz-molybdenite veins.
Many of the field and geochemical characteristics of the Priestly Lake pluton are unlike those of major molybdenum-producing areas (Climax, Henderson, Urad). For example, the area of alteration seems to be of limited extent, the host rock is not intensely altered hydrothermally at the surface, the density of fractures is rather low in the mineralized area, and the amount of disseminated molybdenite appears to be small. However, the Priestly Lake pluton may be a small fraction of a concealed batholith as suggested by geophysical data. It is conceivable that the type of mineralization at the surface might be the expression of more extensive molybdenite mineralization at depth.
The quartz-molybdenite veins in the Priestly Lake pluton are significant because they indicate that potential molybdenum sources for producing mineralized granites were available at depth. Future studies should be aimed at delineating the area of quartz-molybdenite mineralization, documenting hydrothermal alteration and zonation, determining fracture density, and evaluating the sulfide assemblage.
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Quartz-molybdenite veins in the Priestly Lake granodiorite, north-central Maine