The White River altered area, Washington, and the Goldfield mining district, Nevada, are nearly contemporaneous Tertiary (ca.20 Ma) calc-alkaline igneous centers with large exposures of shallow (<1 km depth) magmatic-hydrothermal, acid-sulfate alteration. Goldfield is the largest known high-sulfidation gold deposit in North America. At White River, silica is the only commodity exploited to date, but, based on its similarities with Goldfield, White River may have potential for concealed precious and/or base metal deposits at shallow depth. Both areas are products of the ancestral Cascade arc Goldfield lies within the Great Basin physiographic province in an area of middle Miocene and younger Basin and Range and Walker Lane faulting, whereas White River is largely unaffected by young faults. However, west-northwest-striking magnetic anomalies at White River do correspond with mapped faults synchronous with magmatism, and other linear anomalies may reflect contemporaneous concealed faults. The White River altered area lies immediately south of the west-northwest-striking White River fault zone and north of a postulated fault with similar orientation. Structural data from the White River altered area indicate that alteration developed synchronously with an anomalous stress field conducive to left-lateral, strike-slip displacement on west-north-west-striking faults. Thus, the White River alteration may have developed in a transient transtensional region between the two strike-slip faults, analogous to models proposed for Goldfield and other mineral deposits in transverse deformational zones. Gravity and magnetic anomalies provide evidence for a pluton beneath the White River altered area that may have provided heat and fluids to overlying volcanic rocks. East- to east- northeast-striking extensional faults and/or fracture zones in the step-over region, also expressed in magnetic anomalies, may have tapped this intrusion and provided vertical and lateral transport of fluids to now silicified areas. By analogy to Goldfield, geophysical anomalies at the White River altered area may serve as proxies for geologic mapping in identifying faults, fractures, and intrusions relevant to hydrothermal alteration and ore formation in areas of poor exposure. ?? 2006 Geological Society of America.
Additional publication details
Crustal controls on magmatic-hydrothermal systems: A geophysical comparison of White River, Washington, with Goldfield, Nevada