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Open-File Report 2006-1280

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Metallogeny of the Great Basin: Crustal Evolution, Fluid Flow, and Ore Deposits

By Albert H. Hofstra and Alan R. Wallace

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The Great Basin physiographic province in the Western United States contains a diverse assortment of world-class ore deposits. It currently (2006) is the world’s second leading producer of gold, contains large silver and base metal (Cu, Zn, Pb, Mo, W) deposits, a variety of other important metallic (Fe, Ni, Be, REE’s, Hg, PGE) and industrial mineral (diatomite, barite, perlite, kaolinite, gallium) resources, as well as petroleum and geothermal energy resources. Ore deposits are most numerous and largest in size in linear mineral belts with complex geology.

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists are in the final year of a research project initiated in the fall of 2001 to increase understanding of relations between crustal evolution, fluid flow, and ore deposits in the Great Basin. Because of its substantial past and current mineral production, this region has been the focus of numerous investigations over the past century and is the site of ongoing research by industry, academia, and state agencies. A variety of geoinformatic tools was used to organize, reinterpret, and display, in space and time, the large amounts of geologic, geophysical, geochemical, and hydrologic information deemed pertinent to this problem. This information, in combination with concentrated research on...>>MORE

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Posted September 2006

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