Western Mineral Resources
View of the United Verde mine (upper left), the Edith and Audrey shafts of the United Verde Extension mine (foreground), and the abandoned Little Daisy Hotel, which was a dormitory for the miners (upper right), Jerome, Arizona. (U.S. Geological Survey photograph taken by Dan Mosier in 2002)
A mineral-deposit density model for volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits was constructed from 38 well-explored control areas from around the world. Control areas contain at least one exposed volcanogenic massive sulfide deposit. The control areas used in this study contain 150 kuroko, 14 Urals, and 25 Cyprus massive sulfide subtypes of volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits. For each control area, extent of permissive rock, number of exposed volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits, map scale, deposit age, and deposit density were determined. The frequency distribution of deposit densities in these 38 control areas provides probabilistic estimates of the number of deposits for tracts that are permissive for volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits—90 percent of the control areas have densities of 100 or more deposits per 100,000 square kilometers, 50 percent of the control areas have densities of 700 or more deposits per 100,000 square kilometers, and 10 percent of the control areas have densities of 3,700 or more deposits per 100,000 square kilometers. Both map scale and the size of the control area are shown to be predictors of deposit density. Probabilistic estimates of the number of volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits can be made by conditioning the estimates on sizes of permissive area.
The model constructed for this study provides a powerful tool for estimating the number of undiscovered volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits when conducting resource assessments. The value of these deposit densities is due to the consistency of these models with the grade and tonnage and the descriptive models. Mineral-deposit density models combined with grade and tonnage models allow reasonable estimates of the number, size, and grades of volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits to be made.
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