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Environmental geochemical study of Red Mountain--an undisturbed volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit in the Bonnifield District, Alaska range, east-central Alaska: Chapter I in Recent U.S. Geological Survey studies in the Tintina Gold Province, Alaska, United States, and Yukon, Canada--results of a 5-year project

Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5289-I

This report is Chapter I in Recent U.S. Geological Survey studies in the Tintina Gold Province, Alaska, United States, and Yukon, Canada--results of a 5-year project. For more information, see: Scientific Investigation Report 2007-5289.
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Abstract

The Red Mountain volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposit exhibits well-constrained examples of acid-generating, metal-leaching, metal-precipitation, and self-mitigation (via co-precipitation, dilution, and neutralization) processes that occur in an undisturbed natural setting, a rare occurrence in North America. The unmined pyrite-rich deposit displays a remarkable environmental footprint of natural acid generation, high metal concentrations, and exceedingly high rare-earth-element (REE) concentrations in surface waters. Dissolution of pyrite and associated secondary reactions under near-surface, oxidizing conditions are the primary causes for the acid generation and metal leaching. The deposit is hosted in Devonian to Mississippian felsic metavolcanic rocks of the Mystic Creek Member of the Totatlanika Schist. Water samples with the lowest pH values, highest specific conductances, and highest major- and trace-element concentrations are from springs and streams within the quartz-sericite-pyrite alteration zone. Aluminum, As, Cd, Co, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Y, and particularly Zn and the REEs are all found in high concentrations, ranging across four orders of magnitude. Waters collected upstream from the alteration zone have near-neutral pH values, lower specific conductances, lower metal concentrations, and measurable alkalinities. Water samples collected downstream of the alteration zone have pH values and metal concentrations intermediate between these two extremes. Stream sediments are anomalous in Zn, Pb, S, Fe, Cu, As, Co, Sb, and Cd relative to local and regional background abundances. Red Mountain Creek and its tributaries do not support, and probably never have supported, significant megascopic faunal aquatic life.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Environmental geochemical study of Red Mountain--an undisturbed volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit in the Bonnifield District, Alaska range, east-central Alaska: Chapter I in Recent U.S. Geological Survey studies in the Tintina Gold Province, Alaska, United States, and Yukon, Canada--results of a 5-year project
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2007-5289
Chapter:
I
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Eastern Mineral Resources Science Center
Description:
iii, 9 p.
Larger Work Type:
Report
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Number of Pages:
14
Country:
Canada;United States
State:
Alaska;Yukon
Other Geospatial:
Tintina Gold Province