Southern California and southern Nevada contain abundant lead-zinc deposits with strikingly different characteristics. On the west, the Darwin Terrane contains abundant Jurassic and Cretaceous intrusions surrounded by lead-zinc skarn and replacement deposits rich in pyrite and manganese minerals. The Tecopa Terrane is east of the Darwin Terrane and contains some lead deposits that are hosted by the Proterozoic Noonday Dolomite. These lead deposits have no consistent relation to igneous rocks; they contain mainly galena, and are devoid of pyrite and manganese minerals. Other skarn and vein deposits in the Ivanpah and Tecopa districts are more closely associated with igneous rocks. Mississippi Valley type lead-zinc deposits are present still farther to the east in the Goodsprings Terrane in Nevada. These deposits are hosted by breccias formed below the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian unconformity and are unrelated to igneous rocks. Deposits in the Darwin Terrane have lead isotopic signatures that lie along a mantle-sediment mixing line indicating that they formed in a continental arc setting analogous to that for the plutons in the Sierra Nevada batholith [Chen, J.H. and Tilton, G.R., 1991. Application of lead and strontium isotopic relationships to the petrogenesis of granitoid rocks, central Sierra Nevada batholith, California. Geological Society of America Bulletin 103, 439-447]. Encroachment of this continental arc on the North American continent in the eastern part of the Darwin Terrane resulted in a lead isotopic signature that is like that of the strongly contaminated plutons [Chen, J.H. and Tilton, G.R., 1991. Application of lead and strontium isotopic relationships to the petrogenesis of granitoid rocks, central Sierra Nevada batholith, California. Geological Society of America Bulletin 103, 439-447]. Many deposits from the Inyo Mountains on east side of the Owens Valley have lead isotopic signatures that reflect this encroachment. To the east in the Tecopa Terrane, encroachment of the continental arc on the Mojave crust resulted in partial melting of 1.7 Ga amphibolite and granulite facies rocks to produce the plutons and mineral deposits associated with plutons in this terrane. Lead from deposits in this terrane hosted in the Proterozoic Noonday Dolomite and associated rocks have a lead isotope signature that reflects hydrothermal circulation of fluids in the Mojave supracrustal rocks. The boundary between the Darwin Terrane and the Tecopa Terrane lies just west of the Ash Valley-Panamint Range Fault and is bounded by the Towne Fault on the north and the Garlock Fault on the south. Lead isotopic data from the Goodsprings district in southwestern Nevada, east of the Tecopa Terrane, form a 1.45 Ga linear array that is indicative of Mississippi Valley type mineralization. Although we have no independent evidence of the timing of the tectonic events that formed these deposits, it is likely that all formed as a result of the Mesozoic collision of the Panthalassen crust with the North American continent. ?? 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Base- and precious-metal deposits in the Basin and Range of Southern California and Southern Nevada - Metallogenic implications of lead isotope studies