Volcanology and mineral deposits

Earthquakes & Volcanoes (USGS)


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Traditionally, volcanologists have focused on forecasting, observing, and interpreting events, processes, and products of eruptions at active volcanoes. Such work involves drama, beauty, fascination scientific problems, and the socially important aim of reducing risks to life and property. 

In contrast, old volcanic regions, which host many of the world's major hydrothermal-vein, porphyry, and massive-sulfide ore deposits, have been studied mainly by economic geologists, regional stratigraphers, and structural geologists who have limited familiarity with the complexities of volcanic processes. Such "dead" volcanoes, ranging in age from a few million million years (tertiary) to a few billion years (Precambrian), are commonly incompletely and discontinuously preserved due to rapid erosion of originally high-standing volcanic edifices. They can be difficult to date reliably, especially in terms of the time scales of individual volcanic events, and are variably hydrothermally altered-impeding high-resolution petrologic and geochemical studies. Many volcanologists, geochemists, and geophysicists who work on active volcanoes accordingly have been reluctant to become involved in studies of such less tractable rocks. 

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Volcanology and mineral deposits
Series title Earthquakes & Volcanoes (USGS)
Volume 22
Issue 5
Year Published 1990
Language English
Publisher U.S Geological Survey
Description 2 p.
First page 230
Last page 231
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N