Geology and ore deposits of the Chicago Creek area, Clear Creek County, Colorado

Trace Elements Investigations 432

This report concerns work done on behalf of the Division of Raw Materials of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission



The Chicago Creek area, Clear Creek County, Colo., forms part of the Front Range mineral belt, which is a northeast-trending belt of coextensive porphyry intrusive rocks and hydrothermal veins of Tertiary age. More than $4.5 million worth of gold, silver, copper, lead, zinc, and uranium was produced from the mines in the area between 1859 and 1954. This investigation was made by the Geological survey on behalf of the Division of Raw Materials of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.

The bedrock in the area is Precambrian and consists of igneous rocks, some of which have been metamorphosed , and metasedimentary rocks. The metasedimentary rocks include biotite-quartz-plagioclase gneiss that is locally garnetiferous, sillimanitic biotite-quartz gneiss, amphibolite, and lime-silicate gneiss. Rocks that may be metasedimentary or meta-igneous are quartz monzonite gneiss and granite gneiss and pegmatite. The granite gneiss and pegmatite locally form a migmatite with the biotitic metasedimentary rocks. These older rocks have been intruded by granodiorite, quartz, and granite pegmatite. During Tertiary time the Precambrian rocks were invaded by dikes and plugs of quartz monzonite porphyry, alaskite porphyry, granite porphyry, monzonite porphyry, bostonite and garnetiferous bostonite porphyry, quartz bostonite porphyry, trachytic granite porphyry, and biotite-quartz latite-porphyry.

Solifluction debris of Wisconsin age forms sheets filling some of the high basins, covering some of the steep slopes, and filling parts of some of the valleys; talus and talus slides of Wisconsin age rest of or are mixed with solifluction debris in some of the high basins. Recent and/or Pleistocene alluvium is present along valley flats of the larger streams and gulches.

Two periods of Precambrian folding can be recognized in the area. The older folding crumpled the metasedimentary rocks into a series of upright and overturned north-northeast plunging anticlines and synclines. Quartz monzonite gneiss, granite gneiss and pegmatite, granodiorite, and quartz diorite and associated hornblendite are metamorphosed during this period. The second period of folding appears to have been the reflection at depth of faulting nearer the surface; it resulted in crushing as well as some folding of the already folded rocks into terrace and monoclinal folds that plunge gently east-northeast. The biotite-muscovite granite, which is the youngest major Precambrian rock unit, is both concordant (phacolithic) and crosscutting along the older fold system and has been fractured by the younger fold system.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Geology and ore deposits of the Chicago Creek area, Clear Creek County, Colorado
Series title:
Trace Elements Investigations
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
6 p.
United States
Clear Creek County
Other Geospatial:
Chicago Creek