A theoretical basis for exploration for native copper in northern Wisconsin

Circular 769




Exploration for native copper in the Keweenawan lavas of northern Wisconsin has been concentrated in areas of relatively shallow overburden that have sparse to numerous outcrops. Lack of success of this exploration suggests that if large deposits, comparable to those of northern Michigan, are present, they are more likely to be found in one or more of the large tracts that have few, if any, exposures, away from the ' copper ranges. ' A hydrologic model that may explain the mineralization of the classic native-copper district of Michigan could be helpful in suggesting that certain covered tracts are more favorable than others, and in narrowing the targets for physical exploration within these tracts. This model involves updip migration of a hydrothermal fluid of metamorphic origin, formed when ground water contained in the interstices of lava flows and conglomerate beds was carried to great depth along the axis of the Lake Superior syncline. The largest reservoirs of such buried ground water would be expected in the peripheral rather than central parts of the basins in which the lavas originally accumulated because the ratio of porous fragmental flow tops and conglomerate beds to massive basalt should increase towards the margins of a basin. Thus, the areas most promising for copper deposits should be those updip from places where the trough of the later formed Lake Superior syncline crosses the marginal parts of a lava basin. (Woodard-USGS)

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A theoretical basis for exploration for native copper in northern Wisconsin
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iii, 19 p. :ill., maps ;26 cm.