The Montezuma mining district, in the Colorado mineral belt, is defined by an assemblage of porphyry, ore, and altered rocks that originated in the venting of a Tertiary batholith through weak structures in Precambrian rocks. The ore consists of silver-lead-zinc veins clustered on the propylitic fringe of a geometrically complex system of altered rocks, which is centered on the intersection of the Oligocene Montezuma stock with the Montezuma shear zone of Precambrian ancestry. Alteration chemistry conforms to the standard porphyry-metal model but is developed around several small intrusives strung out along the shear zone and is expressed as a mottled pattern, rather than as the usual thick concentric zones centered on one large plug. The distribution of trace amounts of molybdenite is consistent with the postulate of molybdenite deposits in the district, but the mottled alteration pattern may signify small and scattered, possibly very deep, deposits. Disseminated molybdenite is essentially coextensive with altered rock and increases slightly in quantity toward the inner alteration zones. Two groups of molybdenite veins, associated with phyllic and potassic alteration, represent possible diffuse halos of molybdenite deposits. One group of veins resembles the Climax and Henderson deposits but was seen only in a small and isolated area of outcrops. The second group of molybdenite veins is in a bismuth-rich part of the Montezuma stock and underlies an area of bismuth veins; this group records the passage of contact metasomatic ore fluids. Another bismuth-rich area is in the southeast corner of the stock in a region of bismuth veins and may indicate a third group of molybdenite veins.
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USGS Numbered Series
Molybdenite in the Montezuma District of central Colorado