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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1034

Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide Deposits of the World—Database and Grade and Tonnage Models

By Dan L. Mosier, Vladimir I. Berger, and Donald A. Singer



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Grade and tonnage models are useful in quantitative mineral-resource assessments. The models and database presented in this report are an update of earlier publications about volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) deposits. These VMS deposits include what were formerly classified as kuroko, Cyprus, and Besshi deposits. The update was necessary because of new information about some deposits, changes in information in some deposits, such as grades, tonnages, or ages, revised locations of some deposits, and reclassification of subtypes. In this report we have added new VMS deposits and removed a few incorrectly classified deposits. This global compilation of VMS deposits contains 1,090 deposits; however, it was not our intent to include every known deposit in the world. The data was recently used for mineral-deposit density models (Mosier and others, 2007; Singer, 2008). In this paper, 867 deposits were used to construct revised grade and tonnage models. Our new models are based on a reclassification of deposits based on host lithologies: Felsic, Bimodal-Mafic, and Mafic volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits.

Mineral-deposit models are important in exploration planning and quantitative resource assessments for two reasons: (1) grades and tonnages among deposit types vary significantly, and (2) deposits of different types occur in distinct geologic settings that can be identified from geologic maps. Mineral-deposit models combine the diverse geoscience information on geology, mineral occurrences, geophysics, and geochemistry used in resource assessments and mineral exploration. Globally based deposit models allow recognition of important features and demonstrate how common different features are. Well-designed deposit models allow geologists to deduce possible mineral-deposit types in a given geologic environment and economists to determine the possible economic viability of these resources. Thus, mineral-deposit models play a central role in presenting geoscience information in a useful form to policy makers. The foundation of mineral-deposit models is information about known deposits. The purpose of this publication is to present the latest geologic information and newly developed grade and tonnage models for VMS deposits in digital form.

This publication contains computer files with information on VMS deposits from around the world. It also presents new grade and tonnage models for three subtypes of VMS deposits and a text file allowing locations of all deposits to be plotted in geographic information system (GIS) programs. The data are presented in FileMaker Pro and text files to make the information available to a wider audience. The value of this information and any derived analyses depends critically on the consistent manner of data gathering. For this reason, we first discuss the rules used in this compilation. Next, we provide new grade and tonnage models and analysis of the information in the file. Finally, the fields of the data file are explained. Appendix A gives the summary statistics for the new grade-tonnage models and Appendix B displays the country codes used in the database.

Version 1.0

Last modified April 30, 2010
First posted March 17, 2009

For additional information contact:
Dan Mosier

Western Mineral Resources Science Center

This report is available only on the Web.

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Suggested citation:

Mosier, D.L., Berger, V.I., and Singer, D.A., 2009, Volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits of the world; database and grade and tonnage models: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1034 [].



Rules Used

Classification of Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide Subtypes

Preliminary Analysis

Explanation of Data Fields

Location Map




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