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Open-File Report 2008–1321

Preliminary Model of Porphyry Copper Deposits

By Byron R. Berger, Robert A. Ayuso, Jeffrey C. Wynn, and Robert R. Seal


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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Resources Program develops mineral-deposit models for application in USGS mineral-resource assessments and other mineral resource-related activities within the USGS as well as for nongovernmental applications. Periodic updates of models are published in order to incorporate new concepts and findings on the occurrence, nature, and origin of specific mineral deposit types. This update is a preliminary model of porphyry copper deposits that begins an update process of porphyry copper models published in USGS Bulletin 1693 in 1986. This update includes a greater variety of deposit attributes than were included in the 1986 model as well as more information about each attribute. It also includes an expanded discussion of geophysical and remote sensing attributes and tools useful in resource evaluations, a summary of current theoretical concepts of porphyry copper deposit genesis, and a summary of the environmental attributes of unmined and mined deposits.

Version 1.0

Posted October 2008

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Suggested citation:

Berger, B.R., Ayuso, R.A., Wynn, J.C., and Seal, R.R., 2008, Preliminary model of porphyry copper deposits: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008–1321, 55 p.



Regional Environment

Physical Description of Deposit

Geophysical Characteristics

Ore Characteristics

Gangue Characteristics

Geochemical Characteristics


Petrology of Associated Igneous Rocks

Theory of Deposit Formation


Geoenvironmental Features

Grade and Tonnage Models



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