A special issue devoted to gold deposits in northern Nevada: Part 2. Carlin-type Deposits

Economic Geology
By: , and 



This is the second of two special issues of Economic Geology devoted to gold deposits in northern Nevada. Readers interested in a general overview of these deposits, their economic significance, their context within the tectonic evolution of the region, and synoptic references on each gold deposit type are directed to the preface of the first special issue (John et al., 2003). Volume 98, issue 2, contains five papers that address regional aspects important to the genesis of gold deposits in northern Nevada and five papers that present detailed studies of epithermal deposits and districts. All of the regional papers are pertinent to Carlin-type gold deposits, because they address the age of mineralization (Arehart et al., 2003), origin and evolutionary history of the northwest-striking mineral belts that localize many deposits (Grauch et al., 2003), nature of the middle and lower crust below these mineral belts (Howard, 2003), district- to deposit-scale stream sediment and lithogeochemical anomalies (Theodore et al., 2003), and stratigraphy and structure of a district located along a northeast-striking lineament (Peters et al., 2003).

The nine papers in this second special issue focus on an array of problems pertinent to genetic and exploration models for Carlin-type deposits in northern Nevada (Fig. 1). These investigations sort out and characterize the sequence of deformational, igneous, and hydrothermal events in mining districts, constrain the age of mineralization, map paleothermal gradients, identify structures and lithologies that are preferentially mineralized, ascertain processes of ore formation, determine sources of ore fluid components, and define fluid flow paths.

A common theme among these papers is inheritance, whereby older features in the mineral belts influence ore formation in subsequent Carlin-type hydrothermal systems. Three types of inheritance are inferred by one or more of these investigations: (1) structural inheritance, where older faults are reactivated during subsequent contractional and/or extensional tectonic events producing permeable fracture systems that focused flow of ore fluids; (2) alteration inheritance, where one or more preore alteration events produced reactive host rocks that are preferentially mineralized; and (3) geochemical inheritance, in which Au and other elements are recycled from older mineralization into younger Carlin-type deposits.

Despite the similar age, tectonic setting, alteration types, mineral parageneses, and geochemical signatures of the deposits studied, these papers do not lead to consensus regarding genetic models for Carlin-type deposits. Rather, the separate investigations by different workers, utilizing both similar and unlike approaches, result in markedly different conclusions. Some of this disparity probably is due to real differences in the origin of different districts; however, the opposing conclusions arrived at by investigations on neighboring deposits in a single district are more problematic and most likely are due to difficulties resulting from the superposition of different types and ages of gold mineralization or to substantial variations in the hydrology and proportions of fluid components derived from deep and shallow sources in each deposit. Further work is needed to validate and understand the significance of these differences.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A special issue devoted to gold deposits in northern Nevada: Part 2. Carlin-type Deposits
Series title Economic Geology
DOI 10.2113/gsecongeo.98.6.1063
Volume 98
Issue 6
Year Published 2003
Language English
Publisher Society of Economic Geologists
Publisher location Lancaster, PA
Description 5 p.
First page 1063
Last page 1067
Country United States
State Nevada
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N