Regional geochemical studies in the Patagonia Mountains, Santa Cruz County, Arizona

Journal of Geochemical Exploration

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The Patagonia Mountains in southern Arizona contain the deeply buried porphyry copper system at Red Mountain as well as a number of other base- and precious-metal mines and prospects. The range contains complex Basin and Range geology with units ranging in age from Precambrian to Holocene. Rock types present include igneous intrusive and extrusive units as well as sedimentary and metamorphic units, most of which have been tectonically disturbed. A total of 264 stream-sediment samples were collected and analyzed for 32 elements. Geochemical maps for Sb, Ag, Pb, Te, B, Mn, Au, Zn, Cu (total), Cu (cold-extractable), and Mo, as well as for Cu (cold-extractable)/Cu (total) and Fe/Mn, are presented. Anomaly patterns for these elements generally occur over the Red Mountain deposit and (or) along a north-northwest trend parallel to the major Harshaw Creek Fault. Much of the entire area sampled contains widespread anomalies for Pb, Te, and Cu; the other elements are only locally anomalous. Various plots of ratios of Cu (cold-extractable) to Cu (total) did not produce any new information not readily apparent on either one of the two copper maps. A plot of ratios of Fe to Mn delineated many areas of pyrite mineralization. Several of these areas may represent the pyritic halos around deeply buried porphyry copper systems. The best ore guide for the Red Mountain porphyry system is the coincidence of positive anomalies of Mo, Pb, and Te and a negative anomaly of Mn. Other areas with anomalies of the same suite of elements are present within the Patagonia Mountains. It is concluded that geochemical sampling, even in a highly contaminated area, can be useful in delineating major geologic features, such as porphyry copper belts and major faults. Multielement geochemical surveys on a regional scale can effectively locate large, deeply buried, zoned mineral systems such as that at Red Mountain. Plots of element ratios, where adequately understood, can provide geochemical information not readily discernible from plots of single elements alone. ?? 1981.

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Regional geochemical studies in the Patagonia Mountains, Santa Cruz County, Arizona
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Journal of Geochemical Exploration
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Journal of Geochemical Exploration
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