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U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 02-195
Online Version 1.0

Progress on Geoenvironmental Models for Selected Mineral Deposit Types

Robert R. Seal II and Nora K. Foley, Editors


Since the beginning of economic geology as a subdiscipline of the geological sciences, economic geologists have tended to classify mineral deposits on the basis of geological, mineralogical, and geochemical criteria, in efforts to systematize our understanding of mineral deposits as an aid to exploration. These efforts have led to classifications based on commodity, geologic setting (Cox and Singer, 1986), inferred temperatures and pressures of ore formation (Lindgren, 1933), and genetic setting (Park and MacDiarmid, 1975; Jensen and Bateman, 1979). None of these classification schemes is mutually exclusive; instead, there is considerable overlap among all of these classifications. A natural outcome of efforts to classify mineral deposits is the development of “mineral deposit models.” A mineral deposit model is a systematically arranged body of information that describes some or all of the essential characteristics of a selected group of mineral deposits; it presents a concept within which essential attributes may be distinguished and from which extraneous, coincidental features may be recognized and excluded (Barton, 1993). Barton (1993) noted that the grouping of deposits on the basis of common characteristics forms the basis for a classification, but the specification of the characteristics required for belonging to the group is the basis for a model. Models range from purely descriptive to genetic. A genetic model is superior to a descriptive model because it provides a basis to distinguish essential from extraneous attributes, and it has flexibility to accommodate variability in sources, processes, and local controls. In general, a descriptive model is a necessary prerequisite to a genetic model.

Chapters in this Volume

A. Introduction to Geoenvironmental Models of Mineral Deposits
by Robert R. Seal II, Nora K. Foley, and Richard B. Wanty

B. Geochemical and Mineralogic Characterization of Solids and Their Effects on Waters in Metal-Mining Environments
by Jane M. Hammarstrom and Kathleen S. Smith

C. Toolkit for the Rapid Screening and Characterization of Waste Piles on Abandoned Mine Lands
by Kathleen S. Smith, David L. Campbell, George A. Desborough, Philip L. Hageman, Reinhard W. Leinz, Mark R. Stanton, Stephen J. Sutley, Gregg A. Swayze, and Douglas B. Yager

D. Environmental Behavior of Two Molybdenum Porphyry Systems
by Michele L. Tuttle, Richard B. Wanty, and Byron R. Berger

E. Environmental Geochemistry of Platform Carbonate-Hosted Sulfide Deposits
by Nora K. Foley

F. A Geoenvironmental Lifecycle Model: The Austinville Platform Carbonate Deposit, Virginia
by Nora K. Foley

G. A Geoenvironmental Mineral Deposit Model for the New World Polymetallic Replacement/Skarn Deposit
by Lisa Bithell Kirk, and Allan R. Kirk

H. Environmental Geochemistry of Skarn and Polymetallic Carbonate-Replacement Deposit Models
by Jane M. Hammarstrom

I. A Geoenvironmental Model for Polymetallic Vein Deposits: A Case Study in the Coeur d'Alene Mining District and Comparisons with Drainage from Mineralized Deposits in the Colorado Mineral Belt and Humboldt Basin, Nevada
by Laurie S. Balistrieri, Stephen E. Box, and Arthur A. Bookstrom

J. Mercury Geoenvironmental Models
by James J. Rytuba

K. Geoenvironmental Model for Low-Sulfide Gold-Quartz Veins
by Roger P. Ashley

L. Geoenvironmental Models for Seafloor Massive Sulfide Deposits
by Robert R. Seal, II, Jane M. Hammarstrom, Nora K. Foley, and Charles N. Alpers

Appendix: Definitions and References for Aqueous Geochemistry
by Laurie S. Balistrieri

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This report is preliminary and has not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Geological Survey editorial standards and stratigraphic nomenclature. Any use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Contact Information

Inquiries about this product should be addressed to:

Robert R. Seal
U.S. Geological Survey MS 954
National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192

Tel: 703-648-6290

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