Geochemical and fluid zonation in the skarn environment at the tomboy-minnie gold deposits, Lander County, Nevada

Journal of Geochemical Exploration

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The Tomboy-Minnie gold deposits are related to the middle Tertiary porphyry copper system centered at Copper Canyon. Gold-silver ores in the deposits occur mostly in a pyrrhotite- and pyrite-rich basal 30-m-thick sequence of altered calcareous conglomerate belonging to the Middle Pennsylvanian Battle Formation. The entire mineralized system contained at least 3.3 million troy oz gold before large-scale mining operations began. Alteration in the Tomboy-Minnie deposits includes actinolite- and chlorite-dominant assemblages, in marked contrast to the skarn, potassic, and phyllic assemblages characterizing the copper-gold-silver deposits of the system. Introduction of gold occurred penecontemporaneously with replacement of early diopside-alteration assemblages by actinolite and chlorite. Metals are zoned strongly in the Copper Canyon system: the West and East ore bodies occur in a copper-gold-silver zone that is followed outward by a gold-silver zone which includes the Tomboy deposit and in turn, is succeeded by a lead-zinc-silver zone. Locations of drill holes that have Au/Ag assay ratios of ??? 1 clearly outline the Tomboy-Minnie deposits within an area of rocks with Au/Ag ratios of ??? 0.5. Fluid-inclusion studies suggest wide variations in temperature and chemistry prevailed in the fluids associated with mineralization at the Tomboy. Early fluids associated with diopsidequartz assemblages probably were dominantly CaCl2-rich brines and were boiling at temperatures higher than 500??C. These fluids were progressively enriched in sodium and potassium over time, and during the hydrosilicate stages, temperatures probably ranged from 320 to 500??C at the time actinolite formed, and from 220 to 320??C at the time chlorite was dominant. Sulfur isotopic data suggest that sulfur, mostly from a magmatic or deep-seated crustal source, was transported by hydrothermal fluids as aqueous H2S with a ?? 34S of about 4 ?? 1??? to the West, East, and Tomboy deposits. ?? 1986.

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Geochemical and fluid zonation in the skarn environment at the tomboy-minnie gold deposits, Lander County, Nevada
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Journal of Geochemical Exploration
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Journal of Geochemical Exploration