Silver is an accessory element in gold, antimony, and tungsten deposits of the caldera complex. Most of the deposits are economically of low grade and genetically of xenothermal or epithermal character. Their gold- and silver-bearing minerals are usually disseminated, fine grained, and difficult to study. Sparsely disseminated pyrite and arsenoprite are common associates. Identified silver minerals are: native silver and electrum; the sulfides acanthite, argentite (the latter always inverted to acanthite), and members of the Silberkies group; the sulfosalts matildite, miargyrite, pyrargyrite, argentian tetrahedrite, and unnamed Ag-Sb-S and Ag-Fe-Sb-S minerals; the telluride hessite and the selenide naumannite; halides of the cerargyrite group; and the antimonate stetefeldtite. Suspected silver minerals include the sulfide uytenbogaardtite and the sulfosalts andorite, diaphorite, and polybasite. Electrum, acanthite, and argentian tetrahedrite are common, though nowhere abundant. The other silver minerals are rare. Silver is present as a minor element in the structure of some varieties of other minerals. These include arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, chalcostibite, covelline, digenite, galena, sphalerite, and stibnite. The search for adventitious Ag in most of these minerals has been cursory. The results merely indicate that elemental silver is not confined to discrete silver minerals and is, therefore, an additional complication for the recovery of silver-bearing material from some deposits. Silver occurs cryptically in some plants of the region. At Red Mountain, for example, the ashed sapwood of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) contains 2 to 300 ppm Ag. Silver in the ashed wood is roughly 100 times as abundant as it is in soil. The phenomenon, useful in biogeochemical exploration, deserves the attention of mineralogists. ?? 1987 Springer-Verlag.
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Residence of silver in mineral deposits of the Thunder Mountain caldera complex, Central Idaho, U.S.A.