In 1987, a cooperative project between the U.S. Geological Survey and the Institute of Geophysical and Geochemical Exploration was initiated to evaluate the origin of the Hatu gold anomaly. The anomaly is located in the Hatu mining district in the northwest corner of Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China. The climate is semiarid to arid and wind erosion predominates. A regional soil survey of the Hatu district, based on samples collected on a 200 by 500 m grid and composited prior to chemical analysis to a density of one sample per square km, delineated a series of south-southeast-trending Au anomalies. Anomalous Au values range from 5 ppb to more than 700 ppb. The Hatu anomaly, the most prominent of these anomalies, is more than 30 km long and about 5 km wide. The mining town of Hatu and the economic gold deposits of Qiqu 1 and Qiqu 2 are at the northern end of this anomaly. The axis of the Hatu anomaly cuts across mapped structure and stratigraphy in the district, but is parallel to the prevailing wind direction. This observation led to the hypothesis that the Hatu anomaly is the result of acolian dispersion of gold from the vicinity of Qiqu 1 and Qiqu 2. The alternative interpretation, that the anomalies reflected additional primary gold occurrences, was not consistent with existing information on the known occurrences and the geology. The investigation led to the identification of three types of gold in heavy-mineral concentrates derived from stream sediments that were collected along the axis of the Hatu anomaly: (1) free gold, (2) gold in pyrite, and (3) gold included in quartz. Gold in quartz was only observed within 2 km of Qiqu 1. The size of the gold particles and the number of gold particles in these samples did not decrease with distance from Qiqu 1 as would be expected from aeolian or fluvial dispersion from a point source. Instead, both the size and amount of gold increased significantly at a distance of 3.5 km from Qiqu 1 and this increase continued to approximately 5.5 km from Qiqu 1. The mean intermediate diameter of gold particles increased from 0.1 mm to approximately 0.25 mm and the gold particle content increased from approximately 0.3 particles per kg of sample to almost 8 particles per kg of sample. The morphology of the gold changed from a delicate filigree texture near Qiqu 1 to coarse, blocky particles in the southern part of the anomaly. The Hatu anomaly is caused primarily by alluvial dispersion of free gold from local point sources along the anomaly. Aeolian dispersion is restricted to very fine-grained (??2 ??m) gold included in sulfide minerals or quartz grains and is significant only within 1-2 km of the known deposits. ?? 1993.
Additional publication details
The Hatu gold anomaly, Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region, China - testing the hypothesis of aeolian transport of gold